Story Corps & Librarians: telling personal tales from New Orleans to Timbuktu to Peshawar & beyond

by Naomi House, MLIS

Naomi Story Corps NOLA 3.16.15 1I live in an extraordinary city, New Orleans, Louisiana. It is extraordinary for many reasons; the many cultures, architectural styles, music and food, but to me it is also the best city for dumb-luck/ kismet while walking. I never know who or what I will stumble upon. So two weeks ago I was walking down Elysian Fields, heading through the Marigny to the French Quarter on a late morning walk when I saw an Airstream trailer parked in the grassy lot next to Doerr Furniture, and on the side was painted in pink the words StoryCorps. Now many of you reading this are library folk and very familiar with Story Corps from the radio, NPR and know of its remarkable personal interviews. Story Corps goes around the country and lets regular folk interview each other.  The Library of Congress and other organizations house these interviews and they are remarkable. What I didn’t know was that Story Corps was one day away from their biggest announcement yet!

The Story Corps App is now available worldwide for download!

This changes everything!  My husband’s family across Pakistan can now participate. Old family members can tell their stories. From Alaska to Florida to the UK to Spain, my own family can participate.  This is game changing for the organization, and is due to an award from the TED Prize.  But if you get a chance and can sign up in person to do a joint interview, it is well worth doing! The staff were kind enough to give me a tour of the inside of the Aistream and all I can say is that its coziness, and warmth were not served well by my phone’s camera, alas.

Naomi Story Corps NOLA 3.16.15 2It was a wonderful experience and really got me thinking about the global communities I know.  In addition to my work on INALJ I also work daily at T160k, crowdfunding for cultural projects across Africa so I went home and wrote up a blog post for the T160K Blog. I was happy to share the story and work of Story Corps this my global audience.  Storytelling is an important part of preserving culture and heritage.  I am so grateful for that chance meeting and for the work of cultural preservationists doing this work.  And now we can all participate!

Naomi Story Corps NOLA 3.16.15 3

Naomi House

Naomi House, MLIS, is the founder and publisher of the popular LIS jobs resource (formerly I Need a Library Job). Founded in October 2010 with the assistance of her fellow Rutgers classmate, Elizabeth Leonard, INALJ’s social media presence has grown to include Facebook (retired in 2016), Twitter and a LinkedIn group, in addition to the interviews, articles and jobs found on INALJ has had over 20 Million page views and helped thousands of librarians and LIS folk find employment! Through grassroots marketing, word of mouth and a real focus on exploring unconventional resources for job leads, INALJ grew from a subscription base of 20 friends to a website with over 500,000 visits in a month. Naomi believes that well-sourced quantity is quality in this narrow job market and INALJ reflects this many new jobs published daily. She was a 2013 Library Journal Mover & Shaker and has served on the University of Maryland iSchool Board from 2014-2017. Naomi was a Reference, Marketing and Acquisitions Librarian for a contractor at a federal library outside Washington, DC, and now lives part time in Western NY and Budapest, Hungary. She has heard of spare time but hasn’t encountered it lately. She pronounces INALJ as eye-na-elle-jay.