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Have I Got A Story for You!

Library of Congress has joined with Sound Portraits Productions to create StoryCorps, a national movement to help Americans tell their stories to Americans nationwide.

StoryCorps mobile trailer at the Library of Congress American Folklife Center logo

The American Folklife Center at the Library will house the recorded archives of StoryCorps, a groundbreaking oral history project that is designed to instruct and inspire Americans to record one another's stories in sound. The project is the brainchild of MacArthur Fellow Dave Isay and his award-winning nonprofit documentary company, Sound Portraits Productions. It has the potential to become one of the largest documentary oral history projects ever donated to the Library of Congress, and it will be one of the first collections created in digital form to come to the American Folklife Center.

The American Folklife Center was created by Congress in 1976 and placed at the Library of Congress to "preserve and present American folklife" through programs of research, documentation, archival preservation, reference service, live performance, exhibition, public programs and training. The center incorporates the Archive of Folk Culture, which was established in the Library in 1928 and is now one of the largest collections of ethnographic material from the United States and around the world.

The Archive of Folk Culture will be the repository for the StoryCorps collection. The Library's folklife specialists will be responsible for ensuring that the collection is preserved in digital form, appropriately indexed and cataloged and then made accessible to the public at the American Folklife Center and on the Library's Web site. In this way, the StoryCorps collection will be available to future generations of researchers and family descendants; some of the stories are already available at the StoryCorps Web site.

The StoryCorps national tour kicked off at the Library of Congress on May 19-28. Two mobile recording booths in trailers were stationed in front of the Library's Madison Building. Interviews were conducted with, among others, Anthony Williams, mayor of the District of Columbia; Chuck Brown, the father of go-go music; the owners of Ben's Chili Bowl, a restaurant that has become a Washington institution; and Sue Mingus, widow of composer and jazz bass player Charles Mingus.

StoryCorps may be coming to a town near you. A schedule is available online.

A. StoryCorps mobile trailer at the Library of Congress, where the national tour began. American Folklife Center. Reproduction information: Not available for reproduction.

B. American Folklife Center logo