This post is probably long overdue, but now that the first essay seems to be gaining some traction among liblogs and elsewhere…
You may find this series at WebJunction worth reading. It consists of six articles (which originally appeared at roughly one-month intervals, which is also how I wrote them), the first of which is accompanied by “an expansion, with resources”–a significantly longer backgrounder.
I’m not sure what to say about the series. It was written on work time (WebJunction is part of OCLC), beginning this March. It’s “work for hire”–OCLC owns the copyright, but since it’s licensed under a Creative Commons BY-NC license, that only matters if I want to include the columns in a future book (or other commercial venture) or someone else wants to do the same. In those cases, you or I would need OCLC’s permission.
I think it’s a good series. I’ve been saying for more than a decade that calling libraries “the information place” is seriously wrong and misguided. The idea that public libraries are mostly (not exclusively) about stories, using a broad definition of “stories,” is neither original nor new. (Wayne Wiegand has written about this stuff, far more literately than I do.)
This is also the series that caused me to stop making fun of consultants who “borrow your watch and tell you what time it is”– the third column in the series discusses the usefulness of having someone else visit your library to see the things about it that you’re likely to miss, just because it’s where you are. So, yes, having a consultant come in to tell you what you are can be worthwhile, even if in retrospect you say “but we should have known all that.”
Here’s the page from WebJunction, since the link at the beginning of this post may not be good for too long (I won’t be the “featured resource” forever!):
Featured Marketing Resource: The Storied Library
Read Walt Crawford’s series of articles on how to develop, communicate, and celebrate your library’s story.
The Storied Libraryâ€”Introduction to the concept.
The Storied Library: Filling In the Storyâ€”An expansion, with resources, of the “Storied Library.”
What’s Your Story? â€”Walt talks to small libraries about story and brand, and figuring out what’s special about the stories they have.
The Storied Library: Developing Your Story â€”This installment sends librarians on a “fishing trip” to help put their library’s story into perspective.
Expanding Your Story, Finding Their Stories â€”Understand your library’s place in your communityâ€”both as a physical space and as an influence in people’s lives.
Telling Your Story â€” Once the story is crafted, it is ready for its audience.
Your Community’s Storiesâ€”Tips on how to publish your library’s story.