Step off the Long Island Railroad platform in Bellmore, New York and you’ll be greeted by a sign that says “Bellmore Village: A Stroll Down Memory Lane.” That motto refers to a revitalization movement in the 1990’s which focused on the preservation and renewal of Bellmore’s small town charm. This summer, residents of Bellmore will be asked to take a stroll down memory lane in a more literal sense when the local public library begins recording their stories as part of the StoryCorps @ your library (SCL) program.
Bellmore Memorial Library is one of ten sites selected to participate in the national program which is designed to encourage multi-format public programming on broad themes of oral narrative, and local history. Bellmore residents will be asked to talk about the rich local history as well as recent events like Hurricane Sandy which had a huge impact on the community.
StoryCorps’ Elaine Kamlley working with Library Director Maureen Garvey.
I had the opportunity to observe the recent training session at Bellmore Memorial Library and spoke with SCL Coordinator, Elizabeth Pérez about the program.
What made Bellmore Memorial Library’s SCL application stand out?
Elizabeth: Bellmore Memorial’s StoryCorps @ your library grant application exemplified how libraries are pillars of the community. Martha DiVittorio, our point of contact at Bellmore, wrote an extremely well organized and thought out application – from their program theme to how the stories will be used upon collection. Every question was answered with precision and assured us that if this library were to be chosen, it would not only greatly benefit the library itself but more importantly, the patrons and people it serves.
The Recollective: What makes Bellmore Memorial Library such a great fit for StoryCorps @ your library?
Elizabeth: At our training, I was able to see how closely connected the volunteer Facilitators were to the library. Many were librarians themselves but also have lived in Bellmore, NY for about 10+ years. It was clear that Bellmore Memorial was a great fit for this program because of the relationships they have with each other, local businesses, schools and the community at large. They knew everything!
The Recollective: You’ve done two training sessions with Bellmore Memorial Library’s staff and volunteers. What was most surprising about those trainings for you?
Elizabeth: Their interactions with each other and the institution are constant and personal, making their profile particularly special as it relates to their understanding of the community at-large.
StoryCorps staff pose with staff and volunteers from Bellmore Memorial Library.
To learn more about the participating libraries go to www.ala.org.