Respect and empathy
Wisdom comes from life experience.
Stories transfer resilience and values to the next generation.
Every person’s story is a piece in the mosaic of human history.
We have the capacity to grow, heal and redirect the course of the future.
We naturally empathize with people whose stories we know.
Silence doesn’t change lives; our stories do.
Nurture the power of personal life stories to expand respect and empathy in our world.
Unlike public libraries where people come to quietly read books, the Life Story Library as I envision it is a hands-on place for creating books, writing, recording and telling stories, putting on live presentations and accessing information stored in the minds and life experiences of those who come there from all over the world.
This library is a dynamic and creative place, filled with camaraderie and positive energy. It fits into the community spirited nature of the area and draws a diversity of newcomers and visitors who have remarkable stories to share. They appreciate that others listen to them and care about the wisdom of their experience.
People from all walks of life gather and talk in the comfortable foyer of the facility. They look at colorful exhibits of memorabilia, photographs and artwork. They eagerly move to side rooms for classes, rehearsals of plays they have written about their lives and other artistic pursuits. Adults, seniors, young families and newcomers in the community enjoy the reminiscence garden and library workshops during the day. Students work on their creative projects together after school.
The theatre in the library has a stage and big screen. It features story-based community presentations, touring groups from other communities, social forums, concerts and live performances, as well as video, film and documentary showings. The theatre can also be rented for use by community members, and activities are open to the public.
Most patrons work at computer work stations, writing and researching information for their stories. They sign up for blocks of time to use the facilities. Trained staff people are available to help answer questions about the technology or writing a personal history. If patrons want to record stories in audio/video formats, they make an appointment with staff videographers and record the story in the library’s up-to-date sound studio. When the print/audio/video story is ready to submit to one of the Life Story Library collections, storytellers anywhere in the world follow the guidelines and submit the story materials online.
For the special Polished Works Collection, published memoirs, personal and family histories and edited audio/video recordings are submitted in both digital and tangible forms. They are archived and processed as recorded history and made available to the public worldwide. The tangible materials for this collection are eventually preserved in a mountain vault.
On the upper floors of the Life Story Library’s facility, staff members and volunteers process and edit story materials and make quality work available to the public. The trained team members work in self-organized groups to accomplish tasks of organizing, editing, archiving and publishing life story materials for a variety of uses. Personnel enjoy their responsibilities and the nurturing environment of the organization. They are good listeners, hard workers and leaders in their fields, and they are valued for their skillful and innovative contributions.
Out in local communities worldwide, Life Story Library volunteers work to collect, save and share life stories as well. These trained volunteers include a variety of community leaders, personal historians, retired business people, teachers and young people with technological skills. Teams of volunteers build collaborative relationships with participating public libraries and community centers to provide engaging services for the public while utilizing the facilities and strength of the partners at no cost.
By working together in meaningful ways, ordinary people everywhere — especially those whose voices need to be heard – have the opportunity to create a lasting legacy for their families and contribute something of historical significance to the human family for generations to come. Simply by nurturing the collective power of our personal life stories, we expand respect and empathy in the world and transform the future.
Collect, save and share the personal life stories of our time as valuable recorded history. Support authenticity, reflection, personal growth and collaboration.
Preserve the past. Nurture the present. Transform the future.
International in scope. Local in practice.
Seek truthfulness with self. Respect and empathize with others.
Find purpose. Uncover wisdom. Open to possibilities.
Deepen involvement. Bridge divides. Expand relationships.
Act to further the interests of others, trusting that self-interest will ultimately be served.
Courageously tell and purposefully listen to each other.
Behave together spontaneously in an effective response to events.