Storytelling is powerful, joining the tale, the teller, and the audience together for a narrative journey. That journey takes place exactly where you are sitting or in a faraway realm that we can feel and know intimately but cannot directly experience. This blog is about storytelling and story listening in the life of one scholar.
Open Letter re: Weeding Issues
To Whom It May Concern:
This recent nonfiction collection weeding situation has damaged public trust, and the only remedy for that is greater transparency in government. I believe that we, as citizens of Urbana, should be advocating for televised meetings of the Urbana Free Library Board of Trustees. Other city meetings are televised via Urbana Public Television (UPTV, http://urbanaillinois.us/uptv). City council, board of education, park district board of commisionners, and many other local governmental meetings are regularly televised (http://urbanapublictelevision.org/schedule), to name a few examples.
Apologies are a start; concrete measures to enhance accountability would be a prudent next step to begin to rebuild public trust. Joining the other local governmental groups that televise their meetings on UPTV would be a good-faith effort to address, rather than avoid, public criticisms. I advocate televising the meetings of the The Urbana Free Library Board of Trustees to encourage greater public oversight and more deliberation and care in library communications with and actions on behalf of the public that it serves.
Assistant Professor, Graduate School of Library and Information Science Former Board member, children’s librarian, circulation clerk, and shelver at The Urbana Free Library
Everybody is talking about "storytelling" lately... When you hear the word "storytelling" so much, it seems like anything and everything can be storytelling. But it's important to define it so you know what I'm talking about. As written previously, I define storytelling as a dynamic exchange between the tale, the teller, and the audience. Understanding what is not storytelling--according to the definition I am developing based on the tradition of storytelling in librarianship--may help to further illuminate what storytelling is. But perhaps I should start with a quick definition of what storytelling is. Stories are fascinating; lots of people are deeply interested in story structure, but I focus most on storytelling. To understand the "telling" part, I see benefits to focusing on the dynamic of storytelling as a three-part interchange. We learn about listening from this model in ways that other models miss by focusing solely on the story.
For the tenth year, nearly rounding out a decade, I am preparing to teach a graduate seminar in Storytelling. This course requires many kinds of skills, from public speaking to understanding audiences and much more, but the first skill that every student must acquire is the ability to find stories to tell. Specifically, for their first stories, each student must acquire the ability to find folktales. You could head to the local public library and browse the 398.2 section, or you could start online With the task of finding folktales at hand, my students find that there are fewer excellent online resources for finding folktales than you might think. Those linked here offer good starting points because they have reasonable information documenting origins either as source notes or as annotations or because they situate tales in relation to each other. Aaron Shepherd's Folktales http://www.aaronshep.com/stories/folk.html D. L. Ashliman's Online Folktale Finder http://www.pi
This fall, with Dr. Matt Turk and RA Xinhui Hu, we launched the Data Storytelling Toolkit for Librarians project ( https://imls.gov/grants/awarded/re-250094-ols-21 ) with a free webinar on 9/30 (recording publicly available at https://mediaspace.illinois.edu/media/t/1_69ag1gj0 ) and 675 registrants! The Data Storytelling Toolkit for Librarians (DSTL project website: https://uiucdstl.wixsite.com/uiucdstl ) will connect real-world examples of data use with data stories (including narrative strategies and data visualizations) as adaptable templates for communicating and related online free resources for data exploration and visualization. The long-term vision is to cultivating data storytelling expertise as a signature expertise of our field, so that when communities have data storytelling needs, they are met at libraries and by librarians. As of 11/15/22, we have collected 11 data use scenarios, which we're now calling "common storytelling needs." The goal is to develop