The 10-Minute Library Advocate #9: Learn a Great Library Story

The 10-Minute Library Advocate Number 9: Learn a Great Library Story

Our latest 10 Minute Library Advocate idea comes thanks to Sue McKerragher of the Australian Library and Information Association. Thank you Sue!

Statistics are powerful, but so too are stories.

This is because the people you are trying to influence do not always think in the same way. Some are more analytical, some are more focused on emotional responses.

For the latter (and there are a lot of them!), a single anecdote can provoke a stronger reaction than percentages or big numbers.

The best thing is to have a combination. If you have only numbers, you’re likely to have an instant impact, but your point won’t stick. If you add a meaningful story of how the library service or program changed someone’s life for the better, the data is much more memorable.

So for our ninth 10-Minute Library Advocate exercise, think of a story which shows the impact of libraries on a human level.

You can find examples of stories on IFLA’s Library Map of the World, and ideas on the ingredients of a great story in our publication Libraries and the Sustainable Development Goals: A Storytelling Manual (check out also our recently launched SDG Storytelling Flowchart).

You can then combine these with numbers. For example, in Australia, when libraries together advocacy reports, submissions to government inquiries, grant proposals, and so on, they always try to include both. They make sure to include photos of real people where possible. You will find examples of this in the report on Australian libraries supporting the Sustainable Development Goals.

Using numbers, stories and pictures, you’re appealing to all kinds of thinkers, whether analytical or visual, and you’re giving politicians, decision-makers and influencers something they can pass on to others.

Good luck!

See the introduction and previous posts in our 10-Minute Library Advocate series and join the discussion in social media using the #EveryLibrarianAnAdvocate hashtag!