Frequently Asked Questions
What is StoryCorps?
StoryCorps is a national, nonprofit oral history organization whose mission is to provide Americans of all backgrounds and beliefs with the opportunity to record, share, and preserve the stories of our lives. Since 2003, tens of thousands of everyday people have interviewed family and friends through StoryCorps. Each conversation is recorded on a free CD to share, and is preserved at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. StoryCorps is one of the largest oral history projects of its kind, and millions listen to our broadcasts on our Listen pages and on NPR’s Morning Edition.
Read more about StoryCorps as an organization.
How can I share my story?
Find the location nearest you, then follow the instructions to make an appointment online. You can also call us at 646-723-7027 to make an appointment over the phone.
StoryCorps regularly conducts interviews in our three StoryBooths located in New York City, San Francisco, and Atlanta. We also have two MobileBooths that travel the country year-round. All StoryCorps booths are designed to be safe, quiet, comfortable spaces where participants can talk and listen to each other.
How long is the interview?
The interview process takes about an hour. Recording time is 40 minutes.
Who should I bring as my interview partner?
You can bring anyone with whom you feel comfortable, such as a friend, relative, or co-worker. You may be the interviewer or the storyteller, or you and your partner can interview each other. If you prefer to come alone, a StoryCorps Facilitator will interview you.
Can more than two people participate in one interview?
The recording booth is small. Although a two-person interview is ideal and most comfortable, exceptions can be made. Additionally, if you would like another person to listen to the interview as it is happening, there is headphone access outside the recording booth, inside the waiting room.
Can I have more than one interview session?
We invite you to participate in as many interviews as you would like.
How can I participate if I don’t live near a StoryCorps location?
Individuals and families can rent portable recording equipment packages called StoryKits to record interviews at home.
How can I prepare for my interview?
StoryCorps sessions are designed to be natural conversations between two people who know each other. Your interview does not have to be perfect and it is not meant to be rehearsed. However, we encourage participants to prepare a list of questions before the interview. Our Great Questions List will help you get started. Some storytellers prefer to know the questions in advance; others prefer not to know.
In my session, can I read something I have written about my loved one or my experience?
There is no “right” or “wrong” way to do a StoryCorps interview, and you are welcome to read something you have prepared. However, we do encourage you to keep in mind that StoryCorps sessions are designed to be conversations.
Who are the Facilitators, and what is their role in the recording process?
The Facilitator is present with you and your partner throughout the entire interview process and handles all technical aspects of the recording.
Facilitators come from a variety of backgrounds and are good, thoughtful listeners. They are not trained or licensed therapists. They are present to help you have a comfortable and meaningful interview experience.
Will my interview be archived at the National September 11 Memorial and Museum and the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress?
You can choose whether or not to have your interview archived at the National September 11 Memorial and Museum and the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. If you do not wish for your interview to be made available to the public, we will give you all copies of the recording.
Will my story be broadcast for the public to hear?
StoryCorps does not have the capacity to edit all of the interviews we record, so only a few of the thousands of stories we record may be broadcast on NPR. The most important aspect of the project is the interview experience itself.
How can I share the recording with others?
At the end of your session, you will receive a broadcast-quality CD of your interview to share with family and friends.
How much does it cost to participate in StoryCorps?
We offer this service free of charge to those affected by September 11th. If you wish, you may give a voluntary, tax-deductible donation to help offset our costs. Thank you for your support!