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This is an oral history project involving seventh- and eighth-grade students at Barrington Middle School in Barrington, New Hampshire, and adults from the community who volunteered to share the stories of their reading lives.

As a reading teacher, I wanted my students to discover stories about books and reading that were waiting to be told—waiting for listeners. With the help of Amy Inglis, director of the Barrington Public Library, and Karen Atherton, a longtime teacher in Barrington, we found 35 people willing to share.

This project was inspired by StoryCorps, a podcast on National Public Radio—in particular the story of Storm Reyes who, as a child living in migrant worker camps, was denied books until a bookmobile came to the fields.

It was also inspired by a previous oral history project in our town. In 1995, a group of Barrington residents, adults and children, worked on an oral history project celebrating the 200th anniversary of the Barrington Public Library. A self-published book called Traditions and Transitions: Every Person is a Book was the result, and now, 20 years later, Reading Stories: A Listening Project is a new generation’s contribution to oral history.

—Diane St. Jean


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