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StoryCorps Launches Today at Library

Two mobile recording studios will be stationed outside the Library of Congress’ James Madison Building today for the national launch of StoryCorps, a narrative oral history project designed to collect and document the life stories of ordinary Americans, Library of Congress officials said in a press release.

StoryCorps was created by award-winning radio documentary producer Dave Isay and is inspired by the social documentation that the Works Progress Administration produced in the 1930s.

“The idea is to create an oral history of America through the stories and voices of its people,” said Johanna Flattery, a spokeswoman for StoryCorps.

The mobile booths will be used to conduct interviews in Washington, D.C., through May 29, and will then depart on a nationwide tour that will travel through 25 cities in 16 states in six months.

The project began in October 2003 with the opening of a freestanding recording booth in New York City. StoryCorps has already collected more than 2,000 interviews and will use its mobile booths to conduct an additional 250,000 interviews in the next 10 years, Library of Congress officials said in a press release.

The booths are equipped with digital recording technology and trained facilitators who will conduct 40-minute interviews with volunteer participants. With the participants’ permission, the recordings will be turned over to the American Folk Life Center at the Library of Congress for preservation.

Funding for the mobile booths has been provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and National Public Radio.

— Luke Mullins

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