Tag Archives: storytelling

The 10-Minute International Librarian #76: Update your references

In advocating for libraries, it is always powerful to have data or stories to hand.

As mentioned in previous posts, these can make your message stronger and more credible, both in terms of making your arguments real for others, and adding hard facts for the more statistically-minded.

Crucially, it means that you are not just sharing opinions, but that you can reinforce what you are saying with facts.

Of course, stories and data don’t last forever.

In particular, the experience of the last two years with the COVID pandemic has changed the way we perceive what is ‘normal’.

With it not sure whether we will ever return to previous ways of doing things, we cannot only refer to that world in making a relevant case for libraries.

So for our 76th 10-Minute International Librarian exercise, update your references.

Think about the stories and data you use in your advocacy. How old are they? How relevant are they still?

Can you bring them up to date, for example with evidence of the contribution of libraries, or the need for them, during the pandemic?

Can you find stories and evidence that responds to the issues that are highest on the agenda now?

Share your favourite examples of recent library impact in the comments box below.

Good luck!


This idea relates to the IFLA Strategy! Key Initiative 1.1: Show the power of libraries in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals

As we publish more ideas, you will be able to view these using the #10MinuteInternationalLibrarian tag on this blog, and of course on IFLA’s Ideas Store! Do also share your ideas in the com

The 10-Minute International Librarian #42: Assess your community’s needs

Libraries and library workers have a fundamental mission to meet the needs of the communities they serve.

This is not only about developing a collection that is relevant, but also designing services and even spaces in a way that maximises the good that libraries can do.

This is made clear in the IFLA-UNESCO Public Library Manifesto, and beyond.

But to respond to needs, you need first to understand them.

Especially at times of budgetary constraints, ensuring that you’re focusing your resources where they will count is particularly important.

Being able to show that there are challenges that need to be addressed can also support you in your advocacy for adequate support.

So for our 42nd 10-Minute International Librarian exercise, assess your community’s needs.

Clearly, this can be a process that takes a lot longer than 10 minutes!

But you can already think about your own experience and local knowledge, what your users tell you, or available statistics.

Are there challenges around internet access, digital literacy, broader literacy or a lack of space for civic activities?

Are these areas where you are in a position to provide a response? If not, could you do so with additional support?

There are some ideas of how to start in IFLA’s Storytelling Manual.

Let us know what needs you have identified in your communities in the comments box below.

Good luck!


This idea relates to the IFLA Strategy! 3.3 Empower the field at the national and regional levels.

As we publish more ideas, you will be able to view these using the #10MinuteInternationalLibrarian tag on this blog, and of course on IFLA’s Ideas Store! Do also share your ideas in the comments box below.

The 10-Minute International Librarian #25: Learn and Tell a Library Story

The two key types of evidence in building the case for libraries are data and stories.

Data reaches out to the ‘right’ brain, appealing to the logical, the rational.

But sometimes, you need to be able to reach out first to emotions, to help them to see themselves in a particular situation.

You need to attract the ‘left’ brain as well

Stories, featuring people rather than just statistics, can help do this, engaging the person you are talking to, ensuring that they pay more attention to the numbers afterwards.

Of course, this is not to say that statistics do not have their place in stories. They can back up your arguments, demonstrate real-world change.

So for our 25th 10-Minute International Librarian exercise, learn and tell a library story.

You can find great examples of course on IFLA’s Library Map of the World, or in articles in newspapers or online.

Choose a story with a strong human element, even with names if that is possible. Make sure you can tell it confidently and quickly – it can be a great way of starting a conversation.

Share your favourite example in the comments below.

Good luck!


This idea relates to the IFLA Strategy! 2.1 Produce, communicate and distribute key resources and materials that inspire the profession .

You can view all of our ideas using the #10MinuteInternationalLibrarian tag on this blog, and of course on IFLA’s Ideas Store! Do also share your ideas in the comments box.


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!