I Want to Tell You a Story

We have a favorite partnership in our community. It's with our La Crosse Storyelling Festival.  As part of my job, I represent the library on the planning committee for this annual festival, held the first weekend after Labor Day for over 800 avid storytelling fans. The festival features tellers from our local guild, from the state and national tellers.

The library began as a partner years ago by sponsoring children's crafts during breaks in the children's tent storytelling. When I started work at the library four years ago, the fest steering committee asked me to serve on their board - they are all storytelling colleagues that I had known for years in my storytelling circles. Our library wants library staff to serve, on library time, on local organizations and boards (Rotary, Jaycees, Optimists, Earth Day planning committee) so this fit right in with the library goals. And it was storytelling. As a free lance storyteller, it was a great fit!

As a board member, I've been able to work on behalf of the festival - but also on the library's behalf.  I look for ways to make our contribution meaningful and to highlight the library beyond having our logo displayed. The library now co-sponsors the Friday night spooky tales. I host the evening as the "Wizard of Reading" and get to plug the library and reading.  Anyone who shows their library card gets $3 off their admission. The library, pays the difference - we consider it part of our programming.

The Saturday craft area that we sponsor has mellowed into an activity area with one or two book-related activities (bookmark making, writing or drawing activities) and a space for reading and books.  I also do storytelling in the children's tent off and on during the afternoon. It's also a great chance to spend time with folks who are regular library users, chatting about their thoughts on the library;  promote our services to non- and new- users and be there for support of literacy through storytelling.

So the twelve and fourteen hour days I work at the festival are about as fun as they can be for work hours. And the partnership between storytelling and the library...well, it's perfect.

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