Stories + Data = Powerful Message

I spent the last couple of days in beautiful Telluride, Colorado at the R-Squared conference. I'll be blogging about various sessions and ideas over the next week, but thought I would start by sharing a video that was played during the opening session of the conference. Libraries: A Digital Bridge was created by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and is an inspiring 4-minute look at the powerful role computers in libraries play in communities.

Many people in the audience at R-Squared felt the emotional impact of the video. It's really well-done. The video delivers the message by telling stories of individuals and by including selective data. One of the things that strikes me about the video is that the libraries that are highlighted represent specific examples, but that impact like this is being seen in every community in which there's a library providing technology access to the public. The video is from a nationwide perspective and includes specific examples that ring true for so many communities.

Sharing Libraries: A Digital Bridge with others in your community is a great idea, but I think what's even more potentially impactful is finding ways to tell the story of the role of the library technology in your specific community. I'm interested in knowing what libraries have already done. Have you created a video? Delivered presentations? Created reports?

Using the Gates video as an example, it's clear that two pieces of delivering an effective message include:

  • sharing stories
  • sharing data that is relevant and supports the message

For libraries that have done work like this on a local level, how have you collected stories to share? And what data have you used to support the message? I'd love to see examples of the work libraries have done. I know the Central Rappahannock Regional Library in Virginia has been using videos for advocacy quite effectively for some time now. What other examples are out there?