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 webzine and jobs list (formerly I Need a Library Job) and former CMO (Chief Marketing Officer) of, a crowdfunding platform focused on African patrimony, heritage and cultural projects. INALJ was founded in October 2010 with the assistance of her fellow Rutgers classmate, Elizabeth Leonard. Its 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. INALJ has had over 21 Million page hits and helped many, many thousands of librarians 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 one month. Naomi believes that well-sourced quantity is quality in this narrow job market and INALJ reflects this with many new jobs published daily. She has also written for the 2011, 2012 and 2013 LexisNexis Government Info Pro and many other publications in the past decade. She presents whenever she can, including serving on three panels at the American Library Association's Annual Conference in Las Vegas; as breakout presenter at OCLC EMEA in Cape Town, South Africa; as a keynote speaker at the Virginia Library Association annual meeting; at the National Press Club in Washington DC; McGill University in Montreal, Canada; the University of the Emirates, Dubai, MLIS program and the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Naomi was a Reference, Marketing and Acquisitions Librarian for a contractor at a federal library outside Washington, DC, and has been living and working in Budapest, Hungary and Western New York State. She spent years running her husband’s moving labor website, fixed and sold old houses and assisted her husband cooking delicious Pakistani food. She is preparing to re-enter the workforce and is job hunting. Her husband is now the co-editor of INALJ, a true support!  She has heard of spare time but hasn’t encountered it lately. She pronounces INALJ as eye-na-elle-jay.