The first time I had to do a library story time, I was tossed into the story hour room of the Tuolumne County Library with about 30 minutes advance notice. I was terrified! Two weeks later I did my first library Hallowe’en program. I dressed as a ghost with a ghoulish face of white face paint. I terrified the children, and they were too scared to listen to stories that day. I knew I needed some help. Fortunately some very experienced Children’s Librarians from the Stockton Public Library mentored me.
I’m guessing that some of you wish that you could have some help and encouragement with your storytelling programs. And The National Storytelling Network exists just for that purpose. NSN’s newest California region is The Sierra Nevada Foothills, which runs along Hwy 49 from the home of the Mariposa Storytelling Festival in Mariposa County to the home of the Sierra Storytelling Festival in Nevada County.
In this region we have 3 storytelling guilds and 7 county library systems. The guilds include the Sierra Foothill Storytelling Guild in Auburn, The El Dorado Storytelling Guild in Placerville and the newest, the Mother Lode Storytelling Guild, which serves Tuolumne, Calaveras & Amador Counties. These guilds exist to support all levels of storytellers–storytellers in libraries, in schools, in daycare centers, at home or on the stage. (Mother Lode Storytelling Guild has a Facebook Page! “Like” us!)
The National Storytelling Network wants to help connect all storytellers. We also want to help strengthen the ways that people use storytelling in their daily lives, whether it’s for work or play. The classroom teacher, the therapist, the memory care specialist all use storytelling, as do moms, dads and kids!
On Saturday, January 21st, MLSG will host a workshop with storyteller & folk musician Bill Roberson on Storytelling for the Very Young. This should be a whole lot of fun! Bill is not only a master storyteller, but even better he is a master of kids. Among many children he’s simply known as “Billy Button.” A longtime early childhood education specialist, Bill brings smiles, giggles and brilliant moments of wonder to everyone he meets. Join us at The Angels Camp Mercantile, located at 1267 S. Main St. in Angels Camp, from 4pm to 6pm for a workshop of “Storytelling for the Very Young” and some shared tales. Like always, the Mother Lode Storytelling Guild meetings are free (although we do appreciate donations now and then).
Then in February we will host a workshop on Storytelling with Puppets with Jennifer Aguirre, The Story Apron Lady. She wears an apron with lots of pockets, and from each pocket she pulls delight, whimsy and magic! From a special basket, she whisks out beautiful puppets, each one made by Jennifer.
But even more magic is in store, this time for adults! On Tuesday, March 13th, MLSG will help present a wonderful storytelling concert for adults, featuring one of America’s very best storytellers, Connie Regan-Blake.
The National Storytelling Network’s goals (and the activities of our regional guilds) are to improve your storytelling, your outreach to families, organizations and individuals in your communities by helping you strengthen your storytelling. I hope that you’ll contact the Mother Lode Storytelling Guild, check out the National Storytelling Network’s website and come to one of our many storytelling presentations. As the National Storytelling Network likes to say, “We are growing storytellers…one story at a time.”