The Stories We Tell

I’ve been thinking quite a bit about stories lately. Stories (or “narratives” if you prefer academic language) play many different roles in society; entertainment, providing focus, motivation and building community. Stories can vary from the banalities of gossip to grand stories that we keep telling to each other. I think that our profession needs to make a better effort to collect and share our stories. Specifically, I think success stories need to be shared more. In the midst of a very substantial recession, negative news is unrelenting so reflecting on successes is well worth it. In that spirit, I want to look at five success stories that we can reflect on for inspiration. I should also link to a recent post on the ACRLog on stories. As I’ve been writing this, I’m trying to recall a quote by Neil Gaiman on how stories (possibly from a speech? Or a short story?). Here are three success stories:

1. Successful protection of freedom of expression: I learned last week from Monica Rettig’s blog that librarians played a big role in opposing a proposed Bill in 1980s that would have significantly increased censorship

2. Establishment of the Grace Buller Aboriginal Student Scholarship at the University of Toronto: this is an annual scholarship (established in 2002) with support from the Ontario Library Association, Faculty of Information at the University of Toronto and the University of Toronto to provide financial support and recognition for Aboriginal students. The profession in Canada still has a long way to go in reflecting the true diversity of this country.

3.  My Success: Libraries have been a big part of my life for many years. I spent many happy Saturdays at my local public Library learning about everything from politics to ancient history. Since then, I’ve been been in academic libraries (along with quite a bit of work in archives). Libraries have offered me a place to explore the world, a place to study and so much more.

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