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Collecting Library Stories

Thank you for being inclusive of children with all learning abilities. Though both boys were nervous and intimidated at first, once they saw that the program was not like school, they had fun. After class, both boys – on their own – wrote short stories with drawings and used the adjectives they had learned.

Marianne Reeves, youth services librarian at the Jupiter Branch of Palm Beach County Library System (PBCLS), knew that stories like this, submitted by a regular visitor who brought her learning-disabled son and his friend to a creative writing program, could be a powerful way of demonstrating her library’s value.

However, the methods they used to collect stories were limited and inconsistent. 

Reeves wanted to improve efforts to collect and use patron stories.

To come up with a plan, she interviewed PBCLS staffers, plus leaders at libraries and organizations with excellent storytelling systems.

Recommendations and benefits

Her recommendations were:

  • Identify how stories can be collected and shared
  • Create a Web form so patrons can share stories and photos on the library’s website
  • Encourage library staff to be library advocates and actively collect stories
  • Designate a Story Bank Coordinator to develop and manage a story database

Reeves envisioned a number of benefits as a result of the project, such as:

  • Strengthened relationships between staff and patrons
  • Greater awareness of library offerings
  • Recognition of library staff providing exceptional service
  • Increased donations and support
  • Growing library use


Since Reeves embarked on her project, PBCLS has incorporated patron stories in some of its YouTube videos.

Patrons love the Acreage Branch Library


PBCLS encourages patrons to visit the new bookmobile

PowerPoint presentation

For more details on Reeves’ project, take a look at her presentation, Telling Our Library Stories:

imls180.for.panel.jpgMany of these resources and programs are funded under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act from the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Florida's LSTA program is administered by the Department of State's Division of Library and Information Services.