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Wisconsin Libraries Transform

Telling Your Library’s Story

Wisconsin Libraries Transform logoWhat if you could have a simple campaign plan that does a little of everything covered by marketing and advoacy plans?  What about a plan that markets and advocates for your library in a way that lets your customers tell their story about how great your library is and the importance and difference it has made in their lives?  Then you’re not speaking on your library’s behalf when it comes time to talk with city council members—your customers are!  Who better to tell your library story than your patrons themselves!

ALA began a new campaign a few years back called Transform Your Library.  Check out this link to learn more about the National campaign:  http://www.ilovelibraries.org/librariestransform/.  Dane County followed suit, we came up with a story-telling pilot project, the results of which can be viewed at www.wisconsinlibrariestransform.org. Expanded participation is now available to libraries across the South Central Library System.

Wisconsin Libraries Transform is a great way to get patrons and staff involved by telling the wonderful and positive stories that happen every day at your library.  One of things learned through this process is that a great way to capture patron stories is to do an audio recording with your phone, then transcribe it to print afterward. If you ask people to write their story, they are likely to decline the request, but if you ask them to tell you their story, they are more likely to agree.

In addition to the story website, there is a toolkit (you may need your member login for this to work) full of promotional items that libraries can use to help talk about the value of the library in the lives of their residents.

You can start collecting stories anytime, then just send them to Mark Ibach. He’ll look it over to make sure it's complete, then get back to you if there are any questions. He’ll then forward your stories to Madison Public Library staff for posting to www.wisconsinlibrariestransform.org.. It's important to get signed permission for each story (forms in the toolkit), and avoid using any copyrighted materials (images, text, music, video, etc.).

Workgroup members have also agreed to act as resources for libraries that may have questions about the story collection process, and can offer tips about how to approach people who may be reluctant to share their stories. They can also offer tips about picture ideas to help illustrate your library's story, and you can see the many ways other libraries have done that by visiting the Wisconsin Libraries Transform website.

For more information and assistance, contact Mark Ibach at mibach@scls.info .