A few months ago, I asked my friends on Facebook to tell me what image came to their mind when they think of the word “library.” You can probably guess how they answered.  

Old ladies in cardigans shushing people. Card catalogs. Carnegie-era buildings. Musty books.  

I love libraries and their legacy. I know you do too. But because we work in libraries, we know the modern library is not musty or outdated. It changes lives by adopting and sharing new technologies, cultivating a love of reading in people of all ages, and giving people tools to succeed and excel. And we do this for free.  

Many libraries are committed to changing the public’s perception of their work. They’re embracing storytelling to communicate their value to their stakeholders, voters, legislators, and patrons. I've been collecting examples like this amazing video series from the Champaign Public Library. And I think businesses, big and small, can learn something from libraries about controlling the narrative and gathering support for their work through storytelling.  

That’s why I’m excited to be a part of the #CMWorld Twitter chat happening on Tuesday, August 31, at noon ET. I’ll be answering questions from people who work for companies with big resources and big budgets about the ways libraries are changing public perceptions through storytelling. And I would love for you to be there too! 

Participating is easy. Just go to Twitter and search #CMWorld. The chat’s sponsor is the Content Marketing Institute, a company dedicated to educating businesses and nonprofits about content marketing and storytelling as a proven method of marketing. They’ll post questions and you can respond using the #CMWorld hashtag.  

You have a lot to teach businesses. The huge changes your library has navigated and the ways your library uses outreach to raise funds, awareness, and support for your work is incredible and inspiring. I think it’s time the larger world knew about your successes. 

I’m also excited to be a part of the Content Marketing World conference Sept. 28-Oct. 1, where I’ll be doing a full session on libraries, storytelling, and changing public perception. Virtual passes are available, and you can get $100 off the registration fee using the code HURSH100.  

And if your library wants to learn how to develop, implement, and measure an effective strategy for telling your library’s story, you can hire a NoveList expert like me to train staff in a remote setting. The course will teach you the elements of storytelling through interactive activities and lots of examples.  

Libraries are using storytelling to change the way their communities think about their work and I’m excited to share those stories with the wider world. I hope you’ll join me for the #CMWorld Twitter chat and help me tell the story of your library. 

Telling Your Library Story

Raising awareness and garnering stakeholder support of libraries is particularly challenging right now. Whether you’re concerned about budget cuts, seeking additional funding, or want to remain relevant especially while your services are limited, an advocacy plan is essential. Hire a NoveList expert to help guide you in developing, implementing, and measuring an effective strategy for telling your library’s story. 

Angela Hursh is Senior Engagement Consultant for NoveList. She is listening to Couple Found Slain by Mikita Brottman and reading Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer.