We are currently living through one of those rare times in which we know -- even as time is passing -- that this is an historical moment. What will happen and who we will be on the other side of this crisis remains to be seen, but what we are experiencing right now will be remembered and retold and referred to for the rest of our lives.
Because we tend to remember what we record, the Longmont Public Library has launched a local StoryCorps project, #StrongmontStories, Sharing in Place, to assist the Longmont community in creating an oral history of the COVID-19 experience.
Get all the details:
- What is StoryCorps?
- How does it work?
- What is #StrongmontStories?
- Can I participate?
- How do I join the #StrongmontStories community?
- What if I want to share a photo or object from my COVID-19 experience?
- Questions or concerns about this project?
- More about StoryCorps
StoryCorps is an independently funded 501(c)(3) organization that promotes the preservation and sharing of humanity’s stories through informal interviews and personal narrations that are recorded and archived. Its goal is to use stories to create connections and facilitate a more just and compassionate world.
We create oral histories to remind one another of our shared humanity, to strengthen and build the connections between people, to teach the value of listening, and to weave into the fabric of our culture the understanding that everyone’s story matters. At the same time, we are creating an invaluable archive of the COVID-19 experience for future generations.
Recording a StoryCorps interview is very easy, even for folks who aren't super tech-savvy:
- Just invite a loved one, roommate, friend, neighbor, or anyone else you choose, to participate in an interview. You can also record your own personal narrative.
- Use the StoryCorps App and make a plan to record anywhere.
- Upload your recording to the #StrongmontStories community. Remember to tag your story with the keyword #StrongmontStories.
It is where the recordings will be uploaded and accessed. It is monitored by library staff, and everyone must adhere to the community guidelines, as well as the #Strongmont Stories' goal of recording personal experiences related to the COVID-19 quarantine. Interviews that do not address the COVID-19 prompt questions or veer too far off-topic may not be included in the final archive.
Can I participate?
You must join the community before being able to upload interviews. All voices heard in interviews – whether archived on the StoryCorps Archive website or not – must belong to individuals who have agreed to be recorded for a StoryCorps conversation.
Participation in this project is open to anyone who lives, works, goes to school or otherwise participates in the Longmont community on a regular basis. If you identify as a Longmonter, we want to hear from you!
What questions should I cover in my interview?
You are encouraged to use the question prompts provided on the Community Page but can move onto other related topics. The prompt questions are:
- How has the COVID-19 quarantine impacted your life?
- What have you missed the most while being quarantined during the COVID-19 pandemic?
- Were there any benefits to being quarantined during the COVID-19 pandemic? What were they?
- What, if anything, will you do differently after the COVID-19 quarantine is over?
Is there a time limit for the interviews?
While StoryCorps interviews do not have a minimum length, the maximum length is 45 minutes. As you record your interview in the app, you will be able to see the time elapsed and time remaining on the app screen. The app will automatically stop recording at minute 45. If you would like to record an interview for longer than 45 minutes, you can create a second recording (or more) and publish each one to the website as Parts I, II, etc.
How do I join the #StrongmontStories community?
Follow these steps:
- Create a StoryCorps account on the app or on the website. Then log in. The same login information works on both the website and the app. However, you can only join the community through the website. Once you've joined, you'll have the same access through the website and the app.
- If you’ve been given the link for the community, use it to go to the community’s page.
- If you don't have the direct link to the #StrongmontStories Community page, click “Communities” in the blue menu at the top of the site. Search for the community by entering keywords. If you have difficulty finding the community, try using the advanced search or refining your search with the criteria on the left of the search field. When you locate "Strongmont Stories," click the “Visit” button beside the community. This will take you to the #StrongmontStories Community page.
- On the Community page, click “Join.”
Or watch this video:
Or read these how-to guides for the StoryCorps App and StoryCorp Archive.
What if I want to share a photo or object from my COVID-19 experience?
Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words. If you have a picture that documents the experience of these extraordinary times in Longmont, please contact the Longmont Museum’s Curator of History, Erik Mason by email. Let’s build an archive of #StrongmontStories photos together.
While the Museum is not able to accept objects at present, once we re-open we will be starting a collection of COVID-19 objects, so save those vacuum cleaner bag facemasks!
Questions or concerns about this project?
More about StoryCorps...
Founded in 2003 by Dave Isay, StoryCorps (pronounced “story core”) has given people of all backgrounds and beliefs, in thousands of towns and cities in all 50 states, the chance to record interviews about their lives. StoryCorps has collected and archived nearly 75,000 facilitated interviews from more than 150,000 participants from across the country who visit one of its recording sites. It is one of the largest oral history projects of its kind. The first StoryBooth recording site opened October 23, 2003, in New York City’s Grand Central Terminal, and there are currently permanent interview sites in Chicago and Atlanta.
StoryCorps is especially committed to capturing and amplifying voices least heard in the media. The StoryCorps MobileBooth, an Airstream trailer the organization has transformed into a traveling recording booth, has crisscrossed the country year-round since 2005 gathering the stories of people nationwide and partnering with local public radio stations in various cities for one month at a time. With the 2015 TED Prize awarded to Dave Isay, StoryCorps launched a free mobile app that puts the StoryCorps experience entirely in the hands of users and enables anyone, anywhere to record meaningful conversations with another person and upload the audio to the Library of Congress. An additional 150,000 interviews have been recorded and shared by individuals using this free tool.
With the permission of the participants, edited stories are broadcast on a partner public radio station. Selected stories are produced by StoryCorps for national broadcast on NPR, and some stories are also produced as animations, which are seen on public television stations across the country and millions more online.
StoryCorps has released five books: "Listening Is an Act of Love" (2007), "Mom: A Celebration of Mothers from StoryCorps, All There Is: Love Stories from StoryCorps" (2012), "Ties That Bind: Stories of Love and Gratitude From the First Ten Years of StoryCorps" (2013), and "Callings: The Purpose and Passion of Work" (2016).