The Coeur d’Alene Public Library is filled with stories – printed words, recorded sounds, and digitized images.
A new program, inspired by artists, traditional storytellers, and public radio’s StoryCorps program is coming to Coeur d’Alene sponsored by the Coeur d’Alene Library Foundation.
The “StoryCatcher Project” will take place in a permanent recording studio in the library. It is an expansion of artist Barbara Mueller’s creation of “Portrait of a Town” – the photos of area residents on display for the past year in the Sherman Avenue park with accompanying interviews accessible on the Internet.
A study room at the library – referred to as the “Lodge of the Storyteller” by Coeur d’Alene Tribe members at its groundbreaking ceremony – is currently undergoing a transformation by local artists Mary Dee and Allen Dodge. The exterior will be decorated to resemble the entrance to a lodge, and the interior will reflect murals depicting mythological symbols of storytelling used in the Coeur d’Alene Tribe’s traditions.
“This space is dedicated to the legacy of Clifford Sijohn of the Coeur d’Alene Tribe,” said Ruth Pratt, Library Foundation Executive Director.
Recording and editing equipment will be housed in this special room so that interviews with community members of all ages can be uploaded to the internet on a special website. Anyone who has access to the Internet will be able to view the archived stories.
The StoryCatcher Project will be an ongoing program at the Library, collaborating with NIC and other community organizations, capturing the "spirit of Coeur d'Alene" through the stories and experiences of its inhabitants.
"These stories help to preserve our past, illuminate our present, and create our future," explained project director Mueller.
Financial support to initiate the StoryCatcher Project has come from the following sources: The Idaho Community Foundation, the Coeur d’Alene Arts Commission, the Idaho Humanities Council, the Friends of the Coeur d’Alene Public Library, the Graef Family Foundation, and other private contributions.
To kick off the project, Mueller will offer a two-session workshop at the library Monday and Wednesday, Dec. 9 and 11, 6-8 p.m. “Capturing Family Stories at the Holidays,” will be presented in the Shirley Parker Storyroom in the children’s library on the lower level.
The sessions are geared toward those interested in learning about the importance of and techniques involved in capturing and recording oral histories. Space is limited. To sign up, call the Library Foundation office at 208-769-2380.
Patrons who need accommodation to participate in library programs or services are asked to contact the staff prior to the activity by calling 208-769-2315.