Oral History at UCPL

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Record your oral history at UCPL! Help us preserve the voices of the past and present for future generations by participating in the University City Public Library Oral History Project.

UCPL is gathering the stories of University City community members to create an archive of the stories that illustrates the many facets of the community. For our oral history project, we're using the StoryCorps interview method: a 40-minute, uninterrupted opportunity to discuss whatever topic the storyteller wants to talk about with a friend or loved one. While trained facilitators will be present, this is a conversation between two people who know each other well; the facilitator is just there to answer questions and to monitor the recording equipment. The interview can be as formal or as informal as the participants choose.

At the end of the conversation, the storyteller will receive a free CD recording to share with family and friends. This CD will arrive in the mail five to seven weeks after the interview is recorded. With the permission of the participants, a second copy will be archived at University City Public Library.

To schedule a recording, call Kara at 314.727.3150 or click here to fill out a form to sign up.

Want to hear some examples? Click here to check out some of the stories we recorded in 2015 as part of our partnership with StoryCorps, a national non-profit organization dedicated to gathering oral histories from everyday Americans.

Frequently Asked Questions

What's the interview process like?
We use the StoryCorps interview method, which is simply a 40-minute recording of a conversation between the storyteller and a loved one. Trained facilitators will be on hand to answer questions before and after the interview, as well as to monitor the recording equipment, but the storyteller and partner will steer the conversation.

Are there ID requirements or an age limit to participate?
Anyone can tell their story, no ID required! There is no age limit for participation, though we will ask everyone who participates to sign a release form. Minors under the age of 18 must have a parent or legal guardian sign the release on their behalf.

What do I need to bring with me?
Bring a friend, family member, or someone you know well to share your story with. This oral history project is less of a structured interview than it is a 40-minute conversation between two people who know each other, talking about their life experiences. Feel free to think about what you'd like to talk about ahead of time, and, if you'd like, bring along a photo or object that will help you tell the story.

Do I have to talk about University City?
Nope! You can talk about anything you want. Your story, no matter the topic, is important to our project because you're a part of our community. Telling your story helps us tell the story of University City.

What if I don’t want to share my story with anyone else? Can I still record an oral history just for myself?
Absolutely! We’ll still help out with recording and making a CD copy for you to keep.

What if I have more questions?
For questions about recording, including scheduling a recording, please contact Kara at kkrekeler@ucitylibrary.org, or 314-727-3150.