For immediate release | January 26, 2022

New from ACRL - “Once Upon a Time in the Academic Library: Storytelling Skills for Librarians”

CHICAGO – The Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) announces the publication of “Once Upon a Time in the Academic Library: Storytelling Skills for Librarians,” edited by Maria Barefoot, Sara Parme, and Elin Woods. This fun, eminently readable guide provides innovative ideas for incorporating storytelling into your teaching and communication, and can inspire you to invent new ways of using it in your work.

It could be argued that to tell stories is to be human. Storytelling evolved alongside us to provide entertainment via literature, plays, and visual arts. It helps shape society through parables, moral tales, and religion. Storytelling plays a role in business, law, medicine, and education in modern society.

Academic librarians can apply storytelling in the same way that teachers, entertainers, lawyers, and businesspeople have done for centuries, as education within information literacy instruction and as communication in the areas of reference, outreach, management, assessment, and more. "Once Upon a Time in the Academic Library" explores applications of storytelling across academic librarianship in three sections:

  • The Information Literacy Classroom
  • The Stacks
  • Physical and Virtual Library Spaces

A thorough introduction discusses the historical and theoretical roots of storytelling, as well as the mechanics and social justice applications. Chapter authors demonstrate using storytelling to share diverse viewpoints that connect with their users, and each chapter contains practical examples of how storytelling can be used within the library and cultural considerations for the audience. The first section focuses on storytelling as a pedagogical tool; the others include examples of how storytelling has been used as a communication method in sharing and developing collections, at service points, and in online spaces.

“Once Upon a Time in the Academic Library” is available for purchase in print and as an ebook through the ALA Online Store; in print through; and by telephone order at (866) 746-7252 in the U.S. or (770) 442-8633 for international customers.


The Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL) is the higher education association for academic libraries and library workers. Representing nearly 9,000 individuals and libraries, ACRL (a division of the American Library Association) develops programs, products, and services to help those working in academic and research libraries learn, innovate, and lead within the academic community. Founded in 1940, ACRL is committed to advancing learning, transforming scholarship, and creating diverse and inclusive communities. Find ACRL on the web, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.


Erin Nevius

Content Strategist