Tuesday, February 27, 2024
HomenewsWanted: Local stories to share | Ozaukee Co. News

Wanted: Local stories to share | Ozaukee Co. News

CEDARBURG — Some pretty special conversations have been captured over the years using the StoryCorps project, from a successful doctor talking about his father who worked as a janitor and chauffeur, to a deeply personal story of a family learning to forgive a grievous act.

The nonprofit’s mission is to preserve personal stories and connect people.

Now the Cedarburg Public Library is hoping to embrace that same mission, but with a special focus on people’s Cedarburg memories and stories.

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The library is launching StoryCorps DIY to capture local history and strengthen community bonds.

“The CPL StoryCorps project is inspired by the StoryCorps project heard on National Public Radio in which a family member interviews another family member for an oral history of something either impactful in their lives or simply everyday curiosities,” said Cedarburg Public Library Director Linda Eastwood. “Our goal with the Cedarburg version is to have different themes for the interviewer and interviewee to focus on for their questions and answers and then collect them to archive on our library website. Cedarburg is proud of its local history and the library staff are excited to begin a collection of local oral histories that can be listened to for years to come.”

There will be an open house from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday at the library for people to stop in and learn about the program. They can also register for a spot to get one-on-one learning.

“People can actually come in and see StoryCorps in action,” said CPL Research and Communications Librarian Jeff Messerman, who is guiding the project.

StoryCorps DIY allows people to check out a kit or work at the library to interview someone to preserve a loved-one’s precious memories and stories.

Messerman said that one man has already taken out a kit to interview his 95-yearold mother about her Cedarburg memories.

The recording can be archived forever at the library and/or one can just keep their own personal copy. They will get to keep a recording of the narrator’s voice.

There are also a list of questions to get the storytelling jump-started, if needed. Among them are: What was Cedarburg like when you were young? What do you like most about living in Cedarburg? What kind of things did you do for fun when you were a child?

But they are also broader questions covering topics such as what inspires a person and have they ever met anyone famous.

Library officials have also created an ambitious outreach calendar in which they will work with different groups and organizations throughout the year. They will start with an education focus this month, hoping to draw out stories from people who attended Cedarburg schools or participated in a Golden Bulldogs reunion. In February, there will be a special emphasis on the Senior Center. Other topics throughout the year include festivals, the Ozaukee County Fair, homecoming, the Rivoli Theatre, local veterans and Festive Fridays.

There will also be a year-long focus on cultivating people’s stories about the library, which this year celebrates 10 years in its current building.

Anyone who wants to register for the Cedarburg Public Library’s StoryCorps event Friday can scan the QR code above.

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