StoryCorps to close San Francisco booth

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StoryCorps will close its recording booth in San Francisco next month due to funding challenges, the organization announced Wednesday.

Funding for the booth at the San Francisco Public Library “dried up” at the end of 2016, and the organization has been unable to replace the funds, CEO Robin Sparkman said. StoryCorps’ website cites the Bay Tree Fund and The California Wellness Foundation as supporters of the booth. Its annual operating costs were $200,000.

StoryCorps will not renew its lease with the library when it expires at the end of February. The oral history nonprofit has operated a recording booth in San Francisco since 2009 and at the library since 2014. It has recorded nearly 6,000 interviews in San Francisco since opening its first booth in the city.

Three full-time StoryCorps staffers will lose their jobs as a result of the closure. Sparkman said she is encouraging the staffers to apply for other open positions with the organization.

StoryCorps has three other recording facilities in Atlanta, Chicago and New York City. It also operates a mobile recording booth that tours the country to collect interviews.

StoryCorps recently renewed its Chicago lease through 2019 and is in talks with funders about opening a new booth. It is “particularly interested” in a Los Angeles location, which could open as early as 2019, Sparkman said.

The organization is also in talks with funders about starting a second mobile recording booth that would be limited to a particular region, Sparkman added.

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