Learning Resource Center

Common Read 2014

WW 2014


A Distinctive Welcome, A Butler Tradition

 Butler University has a strong tradition with its common reading program. Each new, incoming class for over thirty years has read a specially selected book that introduces themes and ideas which reflect Butler's values and ideals. The book serves as a common intellectual experience for every member of the entering class, regardless of major or college. During Welcome Week, you will have the opportunity to meet with your orientation group and, along with your faculty and student orientation guides, discuss the book in-depth. The book will also be included in your First Year Seminar class as many professors choose to use it as a launching pad for written reflection and class discussion.

The Fall 2014 selection, Ties That Bind: Stories of Love & Gratitude From the First Ten Years of StoryCorps, celebrates an amazing organization that truly gives a voice to the voiceless. The book is full of fantastic stories from everyday people - stories that often go unheard and under-appreciated. Reading these stories will make you cry and laugh. They will impart a sense of curiosity about people and the world as you realize that every single person has an important story to tell.

First year students:  If you haven't received your packet, please notify the Learning Resource Center and include your name and correct mailing address. 


More About Ties That Bind

Ties That Bind Reader's Guide

StoryCorps Do It Yourself Guide

Great Questions List

Post your own story to the Wall of Listening

About the Author ~ Show Information

Dave Isay

Dave Isay is the founder of StoryCorps and the recipient of numerous broadcasting honors, including six Peabody awards and a MacArthur "Genius" Fellowship. He is the author/editor of numerous books that grew out of his public radio documentary work, including three other StoryCorps books - all New York Times bestsellers:

Listening Is an Act of Love: A Celebration of American Life (*Selected as the Butler University common read in both 2008 and 2009.)

Mom: A Celebration of Mothers from StoryCorps

All There Is: Love Stories from StoryCorps

An Interview with Dave Isay:

Q: The StoryCorps project started in 2003. How did the StoryCorps project start? What was your goal with the project?

Dave Isay: StoryCorps grew out of a very a simple idea: we wanted to provide Americans of all backgrounds and beliefs with the opportunity to record their life stories. We built a soundproof booth in Grand Central Terminal and invited people to come in pairs and interview each other about their lives, with the help of a trained StoryCorps facilitator. Soon after starting the project, I knew we had created something pretty powerful. Many StoryCorps participants tell us that the forty minutes they spend inside our booth are among the most meaningful minutes of their lives. We hope to grow StoryCorps into a national institution that touches the lives of every American family.

Q: How many recordings has the project made so far? Where have you recorded? 

Dave Isay: We've recorded more than 30,000 interviews with more than 55,000 participants in all 50 states and archived them in the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress.    


Q: As a radio documentary producer, you've created memorable pieces about people in their everyday lives. With
StoryCorps, you hand over the interviewing and storytelling to Americans who ask their own questions. Do you or your staff provide coaching during this process? Are there any lessons that you've learned from the interviews that they
have conducted?      

Dave Isay: The most important thing that StoryCorps does is offer our participants a safe place to open up and talk about their lives. The facilitators play many roles, but chief among them are listener and witness. We see every day that being interviewed by a loved one reminds participants that they matter and won't be forgotten. One of the things I understood from my days making documentaries and has proven true time and time again through StoryCorps is that a microphone gives people the license to have important conversations and to ask important questions that we don't normally get to ask.                                                          


Q: Why do you think it's important for people to record their stories?      

Dave Isay: With each StoryCorps interview, participants have the chance to leave a legacy - so that their great, great grandchildren will get to know them through their voices and stories. The StoryCorps experience reminds us that if we take the time to listen, we'll find poetry, wisdom, and magic in the stories of the people we find all around us.

Q: What types of people come to the booth? What are the most common topics these interviews cover? Any surprising

Dave Isay: In 30,000 interviews, we've had every imaginable kind of person participate-from prisoners at the Louisiana State Penitentiary (where we were recording last week) to members of Congress and even a U.S. president. Because these interviews provide the opportunity to leave a legacy in 40 minutes, most people talk about the great themes of human existence: birth, death, and love. I've learned that no matter where we come from, there's so much more we share in common than divides us.


Q: What has surprised you about the project generally? Has it surpassed your expectations in any way?        

Dave Isay: I'm amazed every day at the impact that recording and listening to these interviews makes on people's lives. This is a project that-I hope-restores and strengthens people's faith in humanity. It certainly has mine.       


Q: Do you think there is a particular relevance to doing this project now, at this moment in history? 

Dave Isay: I'm wary of being nostalgic. I do believe that listening and recognizing our shared humanity is important at any and every time in history-and that if we as a country spent a little more time listening to each other and little less time shouting, we'd be a better, more thoughtful and more compassionate nation.



"Only Connect..." The Goals of Liberal Arts Education ~ Show Information

An Essay by William Cronon

As you embark on reading Ties That Bind, consider, too, what it means to connect...with others, with your community and with education.  The essay, "Only Connect...": The Goals of a Liberal Education, by William Cronon, explores the value and distinction of a liberal arts foundation for a life well-lived.  It is an essay that you will be able to turn to time and again during your academic career at Butler -- because the liberal arts are the foundation upon which a Butler University degree is built.  In fact, Butler is committed to providing the highest quality education and integrating the liberal arts with professional education. In our curricular and co-curricular offerings, we create and foster a stimulating intellectual community built upon interactive dialogue and inquiry among students, faculty, and staff.  We hope that you enjoy the essay and heed its recommendations.

Ties That Bind Discussion Ideas
Audio and Animation ~ Show Information


Ties that Bind  Discussion Ideas:

Introduction to StoryCorps: A Lesson Plan (PDF)



Link to the audio archive by theme (ex: Friendship, Identity, Wisdom, Work, Teachers)

Audio: "My basketball teammates were my first babysitters." Wil Smith talks with is daughter Olivia Smith (pg 19)

Audio: "I didn't have any idea as to what to expect" Ralph Catania talks with his "godson" Cole Williams (pg 28)

Audio: "We were about as close as two people who don't know the same language can be." Justin Cliburn talks with his wife Deanne Cliburn (pg 97)

Audio: "We really are two sides of the same heart." Starr Cookman talks with her friend Kylee Moreland Fenton (pg 144)

Audio: "My father was everything to me." Wm. Lynn Weaver story referenced in the Ties that Bind Introduction (pg 9 and pg 172)

Audio: "When I look back, I do realize that I was a little bit too tough." Therest Thu-Nga Nguyen talks with her daughter Nghiem-an Nguyen (pg 176)



Link for all the animations

Animation: "A Good Man" Bryan Wilmoth talks with his brother Mike Wilmoth (pg 122 in Ties That Bind

Animation: "Marking The Distance" Gweneviere Mann talks with her boyfriend (pg 113 in Ties That Bind)

Behind the scenes about the animation: StoryCorps Animated Shorts Featurette (4:30)

Interview with Dave Isay Ties That Bind:The First Ten Years of StoryCorps  on KPCCRadio (1:22:16)