Telling the Library Story



Jamie LaRue is the Director of the American Library Association Office for Intellectual Freedom. In a recent listserv discussion, he shared these insights on how to best “tell the library story.”

Most great library stories follow a consistent format:

  • The best stories are about real people.
  • They have a problem.
  • The library, as supporting character (NOT main character) steps in and does something.
  • There’s a happy, and often moving, ending.
  • Then, there’s a single fact to tie it all down. Something like, “the library offers six resume writing workshops per month.” It’s a number that grounds the background story. Just ONE number.
  • Finally, there’s a tag line.

ALA has identified four messages that research says really resonate:

  1. Libraries transform lives.
  2. Libraries transform communities.
  3. Librarians are passionate advocates for lifelong.
  4. Libraries are a smart investment.

When you are advocating for your library, you may wish to keep these ideas in mind to tell your story effectively.

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