PROGRAM EXAMPLE: Immigrant Voices, Nashville PL

Immigrant Voices is one of several oral history projects organized by the Special Collections Division of the Nashville (TN) Public Library.

The Library has long been recognized as a leader in oral history through its national Civil Rights Oral History Project. Andrea Blackman, Special Collections Division Manager, believes that oral history is especially effective in engaging people with history:

“Oral history provides a venue for public discourse about the meaning of certain events or experiences. Interviewees go beyond nostalgia to reflect on the larger significance of their experiences, and the people who listen to them connect more readily than if the reports were far away and abstract.”

Through Immigrant Voices, which involves collaboration with the national organization StoryCorps, the library is now recording and preserving the oral narratives of Nashville’s newest residents, including members of the city’s Latino, Somali, Laotian, Kurdish, Vietnamese and Sudanese communities.