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Providence Community Library Awarded Prestigious "Storycorps@ your library" Grant

Published Date: 
March 25, 2015

Interviews Will Be Preserved by Library of Congress, Highlights Broadcast by RIPR

Providence Community Library (PCL) is among just ten libraries nationwide chosen to pilot Storycorps@ your library, a program of the American Library Association (ALA) Public Programs Office and Storycorps, a national oral history project, with support from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). PCL will receive equipment, training and resources plus a $2,500 stipend to develop a community documentation project based on the Storycorps interview model. PCL will record more than 40 interviews with patrons, staff, program providers and volunteers, who will describe what the library means to them and, in some cases, how it has changed their lives. Through the program, PCL plans to learn more about the symbiotic relationships that exist between library users, library buildings, resources and staff.

PCL was selected for the award following a competitive application process that emphasized not only interest and an ability to complete the project but also geographic and demographic diversity. Librarians leading the project will receive special training in April directly from Storycorps, which is based in New York. PCL will present a public orientation for all staff, volunteers and community stakeholders on May 1, with recording beginning in May at Washington Park and Olneyville. All nine branches of the community library will participate between May and October. All interview participants will receive a copy of their recording and, based upon a written agreement with StoryCorps, PCL will retain copies of fully released interviews, which will be archived at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress.

“Storycorps @your library” is a really exciting project for PCL, which will reveal not only the incredible diversity of the city but also the many different reasons why people need a library” said Laura Marlane, PCL’s Executive Director. “PCL is at the heart of the community and we want to learn more about the people who attend our programs and use our services. We relish the challenge of documenting the lives of the people of Providence.”

Several community organizations will support the project: Walker Mettling of Providence Comics Consortium will animate selected narratives and Valerie Tutson of Rhode Island Black Storytellers will host a special live Storycorps event later in the summer. Rhode Island Public Radio (RIPR) has agreed to offer guidance to PCL and, at a later date, will air a selection of four minute programming slots based on patron stories.