Why share your library's story?

Use Effective Stories To Make Your Case Personalize The Policy

Stories add insight and humanity…

  • Your members of Congress will remember your library's story - they are relying on YOU to show them what policy means for the real people who use the library in your community.
  • Most library experiences don't seem dramatic on the surface, but the impact libraries have for real people is significant
  • Statistics can be impressive, but personal stories bring the library message to life. Always match a statistic with a story.

How Do You Tell Your Library's Story?

  1. Be simple and brief
  2. Make sure your message is clear
  3. The story should illustrate your point
  4. Only use real names if given permission: So get permission!
  5. Have a punchline

What Makes An Effective Story?

  • Stories that show how a person uses and benefits from the library
  • Stories that tie a person who used the library to his/her accomplishment with library resources

for example…

"We here at the Cresco Public Library depend on E-rate funding to provide the Internet (through reduced phone bill costs) to patrons who do not otherwise have access to a computer (The message containing your main point). The library is located in Howard County, the poorest county in Iowa. Access to computers via the public library enables school children to do research and reports, retired people to e-mail their grandchildren, and parents to e-mail and chat via computer messenger systems with their children serving in Iraq (A brief, two sentence, real-life story about the patrons who use your library to illustrate your main point). Our library is currently funded at $15,000 less than it was two years ago (A statistic supports your story and illustrates your main point). We depend on E-rate funding. I urge you to approve legislation to save the E-rate. (The Punchline).

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Using your library's story to get legislative attention