The library is almost a world of its own but we do like to stretch our wings a bit and try to do things that impact our community, to make things better for all the people who use our library. With spring hinting that it’s finally here, we are hard at work on two different events being coordinated by staff and volunteers at the library, and with May upon us that means it is time for us to be finalizing plans for the Summer Reading Program encompassing the theme “A Universe of Stories.”


At the same time, we are putting together the plans for the reinstatement of the Storytelling Festival for 2019. In 2017, the Story City Historical Society, the Bertha Bartlett Public Library and the GCC worked together on this event. As most may realize, this event which started in 2006 was sponsored by the GCC was cancelled in 2018. It’s a challenging project, but with such strong ties to the library world, we felt it was important to continue. The other organizations had to set different priorities, so the Library Foundation has stepped up to coordinate this event for 2019 and hopefully for years to come.


Event planning is part of our world, as we do multiple mini-events each week. You might not think that our Preschool Storytime program is an event, but it truly is as it takes time to plan, coordinate, promote and implement. Every special activity we host at the library is a small event, and event planning is often challenging. As our opportunities to communicate stretch digitally across the universe, and activities limit families to what they can devote their spare time to, events are harder than ever to produce, no matter what size it is.


But Storytelling is important to us! We hope you will all agree that having the library manage the Storytelling Festival is a great fit. We can’t survive without our stories, no matter what format the story uses to be told. The children of our community have grown up with professional storytellers coming to the schools, to the library, to open venues in downtown and in our theater. These children have grown up and graduated high school, studying and learning the art of this special form of communication. And when speech contests are announced, our high school students outperform the rest! We think that constant exposure by taking storytellers to the schools as part of the festival, as well as some wonderful teachers and theatrical productions have something to do with that success.


We hope you will plan to participate with both our big events. The Summer Reading Program will kick off on June 1 and last until Aug. 20. There will be something for all ages. The Storytelling Festival will be held the weekend of Nov. 7, 8 and 9. We need a few more volunteers to help with both these events. If you have never been involved with the library in the past, or love to listen to good storytelling and didn’t know how to lend a hand, come by the library and talk to the staff. We will see if we can match up some skills to help in some way at our future events.


Kolleen Taylor is the director of the Bertha Bartlett Public Library, which is located at 503 Broad St., Story City.