Archived Story

NPR inspires ‘Niles Voices’ at NDL

Published 8:59pm Monday, September 24, 2012


Patterned after National Public Radio’s StoryCorps, Niles Voices, a new local history project at Niles District Library, aims to give community members an opportunity to record, share and preserve life stories.

NPR’s StoryCorps features such titles as “From topless bar to biology: a love story,” “Boy grows close to grandmother (killed in the World Trade Center attacks on Sept. 11, 2001) through memories” and “A veteran cop recalls a tough night on the job.”

The library’s Laura Hollister said podcasting equipment from Gloria Cooper’s program will be used to compile oral histories during 40-minute appointments, with a copy for participants and a copy for the archive, although sensitive content can be sealed for five or 10 years, like census data.

Call Niles District Library at 683-8545 ext. 112, for more information or to schedule an appointment on Tuesdays, Thursdays or Saturdays.

“It’s about listening,” Hollister said Tuesday. She suggests two people with a moderator for the interview. Preprinted questions guide participants.

Her husband, for example, wants to quiz a neighbor about Normandy.

“It doesn’t have to be fascinating,” Hollister said, because “stories they have that aren’t just for them” tumble out, whether it’s a special needs boy asking his mother about his birth or “tender love stories” older couples share with their children about how they met.

Niles Voices launches Oct. 1 to kick off Family History Month. In fact, the library is having Family History Day Oct. 20 with Caryn Adler, who teaches the “Niles History Day” community education class from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sept. 29 for Lake Michigan College at the Bertrand Crossing Campus.

Hollister said Director Nancy Studebaker wants the library to be the “center of the community — not the community center,” and she enjoys putting people and information together since joining the library a year ago.

On Saturday at 1 p.m. the library is having a ghost-hunting program by the Michiana Paranormal Society.



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