This year’s One Book, One Community program, offered annually by the Blanco Library, is featuring a book based upon the work of the StoryCorps Project begun in New York after the 9/11 attack. “Listening Is an Act of Love” is the book selection, and copies are now available at the library.
The theme of the book has led to the development of a series of programs for the community which will feature Blanco natives telling their stories. Incorporating films by the library’s Oral History Committee, a photo exhibit from Humanities Texas, and the library’s continuing Brown Bag Series, activities have been planned under the umbrella title of “My Story, Your Story, Our Story.”
A collection of 49 stories, “Listening Is an Act of Love” grew out of the coming together of two everyday people—one talking, the other listening—which are now part of the archives of the Library of Congress. The stories range from the experiences of an adopted child interviewing his birth mother to those of 9/11 survivors, veterans of World War II and Vietnam to convicts, an AIDS patient, a Holocaust survivor, an immigrant, and a child of the Great Depression. In many cases, younger family members interview older family members. The stories have been described as “the raw material of life.”
“By their reading the book and participating in the Blanco-based programs we have planned, the community, we hope, will be inspired to treasure the stories from everyday life and everyday people that are our history,” said Jan Redmond, library director.
A photo exhibit from Humanities Texas entitled “Rural Texas Women at Work, 1930-1960” opening at the library May 8 will be complemented by local women who lived that life recounting their experiences. On May 22, five local men who grew up together will recount their “exploits,” and on June 5, the Oral History Committee will show films they have made of people telling their part in Blanco’s earlier years. This program, entitled “My Story, Your Story, Our Story” will also feature of dramatic retelling of the tragic Callahan-Blassingame Incident of 1853 in which two of the town’s founders were killed and the killers summarily executed without trial.
According to Barnett Cline, Chair of the Oral History Committee, “We want to acquaint the public with what we are doing to preserve the story of life in Blanco through the years. We hope this presentation will encourage others to let us film their accounts, to suggest other people we should interview, or to join us in our work.”
“If we take time to listen, we will hear the wisdom and poetry of the lives of people around us,” according to the editor of “Listening Is an Act of Love.” National Public Radio features stories from the StoryCorps Project on Friday mornings.