• FAQs

    How does an OurStoryBridge project help a community?

    Bringing an OurStoryBridge project to your community represents an appreciation of the history that shaped your community. It is also a celebration of what makes it what it is today, and what it can become tomorrow. There may be closer bonds between residents and connections that lead to neighborly acts of kindness, assistance, and support in times of need. Stories that could be lost as residents age will be preserved and younger generations will begin to appreciate their heritage. These are among the many potential benefits.

    How can a community help an OurStoryBridge project?

    Community members can immediately help by participating in focus groups to brainstorm relevant categories of stories and potential storytellers. They can volunteer to tell stories early on in the project’s implementation, as well as volunteer to help execute the project’s logistics. They can help continuously to recruit storytellers and create a buzz and positive momentum around the project, in order to expand its reach exponentially. You should solicit community members for funding recommendations, even asking appropriate people for donations. If your community has a newsletter or bulletin board (analog or digital), you should post information that can be widely shared. Likewise, post often to a variety of social media platforms and ask your community members to share these posts to help spread information about the story project.

    What are the most frequent categories for stories collected?

    Story categories are designed to be reflective of the unique community from which individual stories are collected. Focus groups can help to determine these categories. Keep in mind that a story can be posted in more than one category.

    How do I access the OurStoryBridge User Guide and its supplemental training materials, Sample Documents and How-To Videos?

    Our full suite of tools can be found in the Tool Kit section.

    Can I get additional help outside of the online resources?

    If you need additional support beyond the OurStoryBridge User Guide and training materials, we invite you to contact us at createyourstoryproject@gmail.com. We can provide communities with additional direct assistance, at no charge, via telephone, email, and in-person meetings. Our work is dependent on funding, but substantial services are supplied by volunteers.

    How long does it take to set up an OurStoryBridge project?

    Launching an OurStoryBridge project typically takes six months to one year, from the “planning and approval phase” through the “preparation phase” to the “early implementation phase.” You can expect to collect, produce, and share your first stories within this time frame.

    What is the cost of an OurStoryBridge project?

    There is no set cost for an OurStoryBridge project. Any proposed budget is highly variable, as it depends on levels of expenses, revenues, and volunteer services available in and to your individual community. A sample budget can be found in our User Guide, for informational purposes only.

    How is an OurStoryBridge project funded?

    Your library or regional library consortium may approve financial support of your community’s story project. Other non-profit organizations, historical societies, local governments, foundations, local businesses, corporations with local presence, educational institutions, media outlets, and individual donors can also be solicited for funding. Use your community network to brainstorm creative funding ideas and opportunities.

    What types of organizations can run OurStoryBridge projects?

    Libraries and historical societies are the most obvious sponsors for your audio history project, but any organization, either profit-based, not-for-profit, government, or educational, can run a story project.

    Is it important to pursue partnerships?

    Forming partnerships, both internal and external to your community, can help you to raise and sustain funding, increase the number of storytellers, assist in the obtaining of photographs, increase website traffic, and provide any number of opportunities to maximize the project. You can ask partners and potential partners to join your Planning Committee and attend events.

    What are the personnel needs of an OurStoryBridge project?

    Each OurStoryBridge project will vary in personnel dedicated to the project, depending on the use of paid staff and volunteers. The Personnel Responsibilities Chart provided in the User Guide presents a sample breakdown of the core team—their roles and responsibilities—and recommendations for supplementary assistance.

    How are storytellers recruited?

    The most effective recruitment tool is word-of-mouth, as well as in-person communication at events and locations throughout the community. Following up these interactions with emails, texts, and/or calls to schedule storytelling sessions works well. The Storyteller Worksheet is used to log potential storytellers and record their involvement and serves as a live document to recruit storytellers. Likewise, a variety of marketing efforts can create awareness of your story project by sending people to the project’s website, which in turn demonstrates the impact of stories collected.

    Are storytellers paid for their stories?

    No, this is a volunteer effort. On a related note: storytellers who may be wary of participating or especially nervous consistently complete their storytelling sessions by saying, “This was fun; I have to tell my friends!”

    Are stories protected by copyright?

    Storytellers agree to the terms set forth by the individual story project. Typically, this involves storytellers giving your story project the right to edit, publish, and share their stories. The project itself then holds the copyright to all the stories.

    How much technical expertise do the Program Manager and Story Aide need?

    You will find that most of the technology and procedures are intuitive, with the majority of the experience needing to be with now-commonplace platforms such as Gmail, Google Drive, and Microsoft Office Suite (or Google’s equivalents). The more idiosyncratic platforms for recording and posting stories, creating podcasts, etc. have their own Help Centers to assist you, and tutorials for all of these can be readily found online. The OurStoryBridge User Guide provides ample detail to assist you as well, and to place the technical needs of the project into context.

    Can the story project have more than one Story Aide?

    Personnel recommendations are just that, recommendations. Each OurStoryBridge project will vary in personnel dedicated to the project, dependent upon use of paid staff and volunteers, speed of story collection, funds available, etc. Jobs can be combined and several people can collect stories, as long as they are carefully trained and monitored and processes are in place for coordination—e.g. use a shared Google calendar with storytelling sessions scheduled and storytellers assigned by color.

    What are the technology and service provider needs for an OurStoryBridge project?

    There are many options to choose from for your OurStoryBridge hardware, software, and service provider needs. Strive to balance your choices by considering what is most appropriate, user friendly, and cost effective for your project. Because technology evolves rapidly and hardware and software are subject to periodic updates and changes, Project Managers would be wise to consider technology outlook and trends to facilitate longer shelf life for hardware and software. In evaluating service providers, assess the provider’s history and ability to incorporate or adjust to technology developments.


    The OurStoryBridge User Guide describes specific vendors, software, and services for informational purposes only.

    How long does it take to record and publish a story?

    Recording one story takes three to five minutes. However, there are other steps to account for, such as recruiting the storyteller, working with them to prepare and practice their story, obtaining photographs, and reviewing and posting the story. This entire process can take up to ninety minutes in total, but is usually shorter, and can be stretched over several days. For repeat storytellers it usually takes no more than 30 minutes total.

    Does an OurStoryBridge project involve a lot of traveling to collect stories?

    Travel tends to stay within the community served. Stories will often be collected from a dedicated space provided by the program sponsor (such as your local library), but this is not required. Because the equipment is portable, story collection can be done anywhere that has sufficient internet access. A link can also be sent to an individual storyteller if they wish to self-record their story, but this is not recommended due to a lack of control over the recording quality.

    Can individual storytellers record and submit their own stories?

    Absolutely! The OurStoryBridge User Guide outlines how to accomplish this.

    How important is marketing to the success of an OurStoryBridge project?

    Very important! The suggestions for communications, marketing, and public relations presented in the OurStoryBridge User Guide are extensive. Be sure to adapt this information to the availability of personnel resources in your community and for your story project, and to the opportunities/venues for sharing the collected stories.

    How many individual stories make up a single podcast for an OurStoryBridge project?

    Podcasts work well with four related stories, so that the podcast runs less than 30 minutes to retain audience attention.

    Does an OurStoryBridge project have an end point?

    As long as the minimal funding required to continue a story project after its first few years is available, along with the personnel to run it, there is no definite end point. As an historical resource, it is hoped that each local story project continues as long as possible.