About twenty years ago I took a microphone and cassette recorder and sat down with my mom and grandmother to ask them questions about their lives. My mom talked about when she was a child and witnessed her house burn down in the middle of the night. My grandmother talked about her marriage to my Grandfather, how he was always so fun loving and how she wished she had not been so serious during that time. (He died early, leaving her with a twelve year old still to raise.) It’s on my “To Do” list to convert that analog tape to a digital file so my kids can hear those voices.
It’s easier now than ever to record these precious family memories. Anyone with a smart phone has a portable recording device with them at all times. It’s our goal to help patrons take advantage of this technology with the Record Your Life Story program, happening September 7th at Russell Memorial Library. Patrons will learn how to download and use the free recording software Audacity. We will also demonstrate the StoryCorps.me app which allows people to record and save their interviews on their own “community” online. Interviews saved with the StoryCorps.me app are also archived online at the American Folklife Center at the United States Library of Congress.
We will continue the program throughout the fall by offering a series of recording sessions. Library staff will facilitate the recording of a thirty minute interview patrons conduct with a family member. Patrons will be provided with a set of potential interview questions beforehand and will be given a CD recording of the interview when it is done. Our goal is to archive these interviews in our own CPL Community on the StoryCorps.me website and to expand the project to include other stories of historical interest to the Hampton Roads area.