“Each individual story means something. For storytellers, it can be therapeutic to voice things that they haven’t had a platform for before, and for audience members, it’s therapeutic to know that other people have the same things going on in their lives.”
An Atlanta native, Sarah Beth Nelson grew up listening to and retelling stories. It’s her passion.
She’s told stories in lots of places, but Manuel’s Tavern in Atlanta and the sense of community its storytellers have created led her to her doctoral research at Carolina. The “comfortable feel” and exactly where it comes from are what Nelson hopes to better understand through work at the UNC School of Library and Information Science.
The field of library and information science tends to treat information like an object, separate from the bodies of those who share and interact with it, Nelson says. But then she points to events like the ones at Manuel’s, which reveal the ways in which information and its sources are deeply connected. The physical and emotional spaces created by storytelling communities, specifically, reveal these connections in real life.