Mill Valley, Calif.—The Mill Valley Public Library has been awarded a $15,000 grant that will allow it to take first-person narrative to the next level in a ground-breaking program that gives participants the chance to be creators, not just consumers, of great stories. The program, Naked Truth: Connect, Create, Contribute (NT:CCC), brings together the best of story-centric programs like This American Life, StoryCorps and the Moth under one umbrella, while also providing guidelines and ideas for other public libraries interested in creating similar initiatives.
The grant from the California State Library in partnership with the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services allows the Mill Valley Public Library to expand upon its popular true storytelling series, Naked Truth. The series, which debuted in 2011, features selected storytellers taking center stage in the Main Reading Room of the Mill Valley Public Library to tell true, unscripted stories. These live performances currently take place after hours three times a year and are attended by approximately 300 people each.
The new program, NT:CCC, includes the live Naked Truth performances and introduces two new components: a series of storytelling workshops and an online repository for Naked Truth stories as well as a how-to toolkit for other libraries.
"We pitched this three-part program because Naked Truth has received unprecedented and overwhelmingly positive feedback centered around three areas: how Naked Truth has been a dynamic force in bringing people together as a community; how people want to participate more fully in storytelling; and how their perceptions about what a library can offer its public have changed,” said Cara Brancoli, curator of Naked Truth and Head of Reference at the Mill Valley Public Library.
Naked Truth: Connect is the new name for the series of live storytelling events, while Naked Truth: Create provides digital and live storytelling workshops open to the public. These workshops invite participants to share personal tales and creative thoughts, enhancing them either via digitized images and sound or through learning how to tell a riveting story live. The digital storytelling workshops will be led by moderators from the Center for Digital Storytelling in Berkeley, while the live storytelling workshops will be led by a cohort of talented veterans from the famed Porchlight storytelling series in San Francisco.
Finally, Naked Truth: Contribute is the new website found at http://millvalleylibrary.net/nakedtruth. All of the stories produced through NT:CCC will be featured on this site, along with those stories told through earlier Naked Truth events. By February 2014, the website will also feature the online toolkit for other libraries. The toolkit will include instructions and timelines for starting a program, templates for publicity, guidelines for running a successful program, and other information and advice. The toolkit is intended to be a dynamic resource to which libraries will be able to contribute their own successful practices and experience.
“Historically, libraries have been places that fostered solitary introspection,” said Brancoli. “What makes this program so special is that it expands on that individual experience and allows people to share in their common humanity.”
The California State Library grant will fund the official first run of NT:CCC, which will debut with a live performance of Naked Truth: Connect on Friday, October 18th and will conclude in February 2014. The Library hopes to continue all Naked Truth programming after this time.
Note: This project is supported in whole or in part by the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act, administered in California by the State Librarian.