Blogger Meg Smith

Stories Cross Boundaries


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For Cumberland County Public Library & Information Center in Fayetteville, NC, March is associated with storytelling. This March celebrates our 9th annual Storytelling Festival. Expanded from one week to an entire month, this year will offer even more performers and programs to promote cultural diversity. The theme, Your Passport to the World, integrates international folktales, oral storytelling, and puppetry through a dynamic celebration of world cultures. Our free and inclusive festival provides one of the only literature-based, cultural arts programs many families may experience within our community.

Our Community Relations Department created passports for each participating child and customers will receive passport stickers when they attend festival programming or check out books from our international themed book displays. We are excited to see children’s stickers from around the world as they share in this experience with their families.

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Collaboration remains a central component of our festival. With partnerships with Fascinate-U Children’s Museum and the Cape Fear Botanical Garden, we encourage promoting programs and sharing resources between our organizations. These partnerships have a rich tradition in our community as library staff have offered puppet shows for more than five years at the children’s museum. The partnership with the botanical garden, originating in 2010, offers interactive story times within the garden’s classroom and encourages families with young children to participate in storytelling.

Evaluation is also an important aspect of the process. We encourage customers to complete surveys regarding their festival experience and we solicit staff feedback to help us evaluate the festival as we move forward.

Our Storytelling Festival is made possible through support by the Arts Council of Fayetteville/Cumberland County. The Arts Council’s grants, programs, and services are funded in part by contributions from businesses and individuals and through grants from the City of Fayetteville, Cumberland County and the North Carolina Arts Council, with funding from the North Carolina Arts Council, an agency of the Department of Cultural Resources.

We look forward to applying to host our 10th annual Storytelling Festival in March 2019 and hope to expand our festival by offering new programming at our libraries. How do you incorporate storytelling in your community? Please share in the comments below!


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