Engaging Community through Storytelling
Library and Community Programming
by Sherry Norfolk and Jane Stenson, Editors
July 2017, 170pp, 7x10
1 volume, Libraries Unlimited

Paperback: 978-1-4408-5069-1
$55, £43, 48€, A76
eBook Available: 978-1-4408-5070-7
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

Learn how to conceptualize, develop, and implement a successful storytelling project in your public or school library, community center, or church.

This exploration of model storytelling projects shows librarians how to expand their roles as keepers of the stories while strengthening their communities.

Community life is built on its stories. Our history and culture—those of society and of individuals—are passed from generation to generation through stories. Engaging Community through Storytelling: Library and Community Programming examines a wide variety of model storytelling projects across the country, reflecting how storytelling can encourage community attachment, identity, and expression in libraries, community centers, and schools.

The contributed essays—written by experts in their fields, many of whom served as developer, fundraiser, director, and implementer of their project—provide detailed information about the inner workings of a wide variety of model storytelling projects from across the country. The authors delineate the need, scope, and audience for each project and offer riveting anecdotes that evaluate the success of that project. Many of the articles are accompanied by one or more photographs documenting the work or practical how-to-do-it guides to encourage and enable replication. Thoughtful commentary on and review of the key concepts in each chapter are provided by the book’s editors.


  • Presents an inspirational and impassioned documentation of how storytelling can and is being used in libraries, community centers, and schools to engage and strengthen communities
  • Helps librarians create programs for youth storytellers that keep children and young adults involved in their schools and communities
  • Showcases replicable programs that can readily and immediately be implemented in school and public libraries, as well as in other community organizations
  • Provides a timely and effective response to tension and divisiveness in our communities
Sherry Norfolk is an award-winning storyteller, author, and teaching artist, performing and leading residencies and professional development workshops nationally and internationally. As a performing artist, she is a dynamic storyteller, telling well-crafted and age-appropriate folktales from around the world. As a teaching artist, she uses storytelling as a strategy for teaching pre-K–12th grade curriculum. Coauthor of The Storytelling Classroom series (four books that explore rigorous, standards-based storytelling strategies for learning across the curriculum) and adjunct professor at Lesley University, she is a recognized leader in integrating learning through storytelling. Her website is www.sherrynorfolk.com.

Jane Stenson, storyteller and teaching artist, is a former classroom teacher and pre-service faculty. Having grown up in the Connecticut woods in what is now the Aspetuck River Reserve, Stenson presents stories full of the outdoors that articulate sensory and visual images in order to share the experience with audiences and encourage school children to create image-filled language. She has coauthored/edited three books linking storytelling and education, and she is working on a fourth book, Science through Storytelling. Stenson was recently admitted to the professional development corps of the Kennedy Center to develop arts integration residencies for her work in schools. She cochairs the Youth, Educators, and Storytellers' Alliance for the National Storytelling Network. Her website is www.janestenson.com.


"[T]he book demonstrates the value of community storytelling programs and provides design ideas and valuable implementation suggestions."—ARBAonline, December 6, 2017

"The entries provide enough practical details on the need, scope, and audience for their projects so that users can replicate them locally, with adjustments as needed. Those interested in using storytelling to create, support, and engage their communities would be well served by this informative and inspiring collection."—Booklist Online, February 21, 2018

"This title will inspire readers to develop their own community-building storytelling projects."—School Library Journal, May 1, 2018
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