Locals preserve library memories with StoryCorps

Two women from New York are visiting the Marshalltown Public Library to record Marshalltown citizens’ stories that will be archived in the Library of Congress.

For 40 minutes, throughout three days, 18 pairs of people will have visited with members from StoryCorps to share their memories and stories about the Marshalltown Public Library.

“The public library won the IMLS award and national medal,”Jill Galser, facilitator from StoryCorps said. “Part of the package was to have us come and record the stories from the citizens of Marshalltown and also the patrons of the library.”

Katie Fink, reference librarian and her mom Sue, were two of the 36 people from Marshalltown who shared their memories.

“I have been coming to the library since I was a baby essentially,” Katie said. “The interview spurred a lot of memories for us that we hadn’t thought about in a really long time. It was a really cool experience.”

One of the memories the mother and daughter shared together was the move from the old library’s location.

“We had this little parade of people, everybody had a bag of books and we walked the books here,” Sue said. “It was a great experience. We could think about all the times in the old library and new library and how much we appreciate the new library.”

Sarah Rosenblum, Marshalltown Public Library director, said it is exciting to have StoryCorps visit.

“We’ve just had such wonderful stories from the library supporters and users in our community,” Rosenblum said. “I think it’s great to capture this flavor of Marshalltown. We are looking forward to hopefully being able to present this to the community.”

The members from StoryCorps started recording Thursday and will be in Marshalltown until Saturday. Each recording will be put on a CD for the participants and given to the Marshalltown Public Library.

Gasler and Cristina Kim, a facilitator from StoryCorps, said they heard fantastic stories and enjoyed seeing Iowa.

“The library is amazing,” Gasler said. “Even though it’s freezing everybody has been really warm with us. We’ve really had such a great impression of everybody here.”

Kim said she would probably never have the opportunity to visit Marshalltown if she wasn’t with StoryCorps.

“I am really enjoying it,” Kim said. “I’ve never been to Iowa and it’s really cool to see the heart of America.”

StoryCorps is an independent, nonprofit oral history project that records different stories from everyday people across America. The recordings are not guaranteed to be on National Public Radio, however discs will be available to listen to at the Marshalltown Public Library.