By: Jacob Munoz ‘17
This past April, the Evergreen Park Library teamed up with the StoryCorps organization to celebrate Evergreen Park residents, past and present, and workers through documenting their unique life stories. The project, commemorating the village’s upcoming 125th anniversary in 2018, will return this October.
The goal of the project was to put together a history of the Evergreen Park community. Individuals of all ages were welcomed to participate in the project. 41 Interviews were conducted in the library using StoryCorps recording and audio equipment. Volunteer interviewers included Rice senior Oisin Twomey.
Evergreen Park Library’s Mary Black said that she was pleased with the results of the project so far, but also looks to expand it in October. “We would love if teens asked to interview their grandparents or neighbors or their friends,” she said. “Everybody has a story. We want to invite more students from the area schools to join us.”
The event, which Mrs. Black describes as more of a “conversation” than an interview, also gives students a way to greater understand dialogue. “Students have so much to learn,” she remarked, “such as how to ask great open-ended questions, how to listen, how to set up context, and [how] ask follow up questions. It’s a great experience.”
I met with State Representative and former Evergreen Park resident Kelly Burke at the library on April 1 to conduct an interview with her. Prior to the event, I created questions that dealt with multiple topics, such as her occupation, her goals in life, and her memories of the village. Speaking with Mrs. Burke, I was able to learn about the life of someone with a background and history quite different than my own. I walked away from the experience feeling satisfied, knowing that I helped to contribute to a special project aimed to preserve history of Evergreen Park.
If you are interested in being involved with Evergreen Park Library’s StoryCorps Project, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or contact Julie Keaty at 708-422-8522.