“StoryCorps @ your library,” a two-year program created by the American Library Association Public Programs Office in partnership with StoryCorps, is funded by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services. StoryCorps is an independent, nonprofit organization that gives people of all backgrounds and beliefs the chance to record, share and preserve the stories of their lives. Since 2003, StoryCorps has collected and archived more than 45,000 interviews with nearly 90,000 participants.
The Bellmore Memorial Library is one of 10 pilot libraries in the country chosen to collect interviews throughout the community and host related programs for public audiences, DiVittorio said. She explained that the focus of the Bellmore program is collecting stories from longtime Bellmore residents as well as Superstorm Sandy victims.
DiVittorio said she was pleasantly surprised by how many people wanted to talk about Bellmore. “People love this community,” she said. “There are so many people who were born here, have gone off and came back, and people who never left. I don’t live here, and I’m a little jealous of how closely knit and very tied people are to the community.”
The library was granted a $2,500 stipend for project-related expenses and a “StoryKit,” which includes professional recording equipment that the library may keep. The Bellmore Memorial Library will retain copies of all interviews and any photos or artifacts that participants share, as well as receive copies of their interviews. Additionally, with participant permission, the interviews will also be archived at the Library of Congress.
From now through June, the library will continue recruiting volunteers to be trained as interviewers and facilitators, in addition to sharing their stories. DiVittorio noted that every interview is treated as a stand-alone story, so residents may talk about whatever they like.
“I’m glad that we’re doing this project,” Hoffman said in his interview with Cook. “It’s been something that’s made my mind think of other places and people and stores and stuff.”