Storytelling with the Madison College Libraries

Mark Luetkehoelter and Mark Perkins, Librarians

We’d like to tell you some stories.
National Storytelling Week is being celebrated January 30, 2021-February 6, 2021. The Madison College Libraries will be using the occasion to launch its new Read Along series of online storytelling events.
A 2017 online article in Forbes by Celinne Da Costa entitled “Why every business needs powerful storytelling to grow” points out that “storytelling connects us, helps us make sense of the world, and communicates our values and beliefs.” A search on storytelling as a subject term in the library’s subscription database PsycARTICLES brings up multiple articles on the mental health value of the storytelling practice. Jonathan Gottschall’s book The storytelling animal: how stories make us human, available for checkout from the Madison College Libraries, argues that stories help us navigate life’s complex social problems.
Through WebEx and YouTube recordings, the library’s new Read Along series will feature different thematic readings. A couple of the reading focuses will highlight the library’s Children’s Diversity Collection as well as the library’s Wisconsin Author collection. Other reading focuses will celebrate African American History Month, Women’s History Month, and Poetry Month, plus some possible surprise readings.
Different library staff, as well as potentially some special guests, will do the readings. While many of the readings will be English, some will also be in Spanish. Look for more information about the program upcoming on the library’s home page.
In addition to the new Read Along series, the library’s trivia page at will also feature the theme of storytelling during January and February. Give the trivia quiz a try, and you may even win a prize.
The Read Along series hopes in some small way to help to form connections and hopefully broaden perspectives. There are a lot of quotes about the power and benefits of storytelling, but to close, this simple quote from the fantasy author Brandon Sanderson seems most apt for what we’re trying to accomplish: “The purpose of a storyteller is not to tell you how to think, but to give you questions to think upon.”