Week 10, The Power of Stories, was such a fun week of reading. I really appreciated taking some time to sit back and reflect on ways libraries are making a concerted effort to make people the center of the library. This is a step further than just making sure the library is a functional space for people, but instead turning the focus from books and computers to the actual stories and lives of the community. “One of the best ways to gain first-hand knowledge of both librarian experience and the specific stories of our community is through narrative inquiry (NI)” (Stephens, 2020).
I love the idea of the Human Library and the way it showcases the unique stories of a wide variety of people. Ray shares a conversation from Susan Lauricella who points out that, “we so frequently judge people by their appearances or their identity or their religion or gender- you name it” (2019). The Human Library has endeavored to strip away the things that divide people and replaced it with the space to make a real connection with another person (even if two people are never to communicate). It seems to share people who are just plain different than us or who we may not have even stopped to consider. It showcases people who come from different backgrounds and those who hold differing points-of-view. This provides an opportunity to peek into the lives of someone who might be different, but it’s viewed as a positive exchange of ideas.
Stephens also talked about his experience with the Next Library and I love the way he writes phrases the intention behind the event; “it’s all about: getting people together to learn and think in unexpected ways” (2019). Isn’t social inquiry something libraries should consider? In fact, the central theme for this week’s reading really aligns with the words of Doklab consultant Boekeseijn, “libraries should keep stories, share stories, and make stories” (Stephens, 2017). When libraries consider more than just the function of space, and actually invest into showcasing the unique people of the community, real magic can happen.
Ray, M., (2019). Courageous conversations at the human library. Next Avenue. https://www.nextavenue.org/courageous-conversations-human-library/
Stephens, M., (2020). Office hours: Narrative Inquiry. Tame the Web. https://tametheweb.com/2020/04/09/office-hours-narrative-inquiry/
Stephens, M., (2017). Telling stories: Office hours. Library Journal. https://www.libraryjournal.com/?detailStory=telling-stories-office-hours
Stephens, M., (2019). With a little twist: Office hours. Library Journal. https://www.libraryjournal.com/?detailStory=With-a-Little-Twist-Office-Hours