We share feelings and information through stories. At Maine Larger Libraries Day on June 10, James LaRue (The American Library Association) encouraged us listeners to tap into the power of library stories.
Since these stories concern how libraries transform lives, we start by listening to our users’ life needs. For example Larue’s librarians interviewed local business leaders about decisions they needed to make. Then the librarians found relevant information and brought back customized reports. Thus the librarians enhanced the leaders’ decision making. That added value in turn enhanced the community.
Next, we pay attention to times we’ve truly met those needs. LaRue told some heart-tugging stories from his library. He shared the elements of a powerful library story:
- A well-described person
- A problem
- A library/librarian action
- A happy ending
- A tag line
We also discussed the ethics of storytelling. How do we challenge stereotypes in our stories, for instance? How can users own their stories?
Afterward many of us informally networked. Networking is an important part of conferences in general. As we shared stories, the networking was particularly appropriate to this conference. Thanks to the Portland Public Library for hosting the event.