The initiative of the Latvian National Commission for UNESCO "Story telling libraries"



The network “Storytelling libraries” is a special cooperation and experience sharing platform of Latvian libraries, wherein a wide range of activities dedicated to the cultural heritage and the tradition of storytelling are implemented, in order to promote informal education in the field of heritage through storytelling as a significant part of intangible cultural heritage.

The aim of the network is to vitalise the tradition of storytelling as an important part of Latvian intangible cultural heritage and as an important part of contemporary work in the daily lives of the libraries as means to consolidating and bringing together local communities. The initiative of the Latvian National Commission for UNESCO emphasizes the value of libraries in Latvia, as well as strengthens ties between generations and promotes social cohesion. Objectives of the network of “Storytelling Libraries” are:

- to promote experience sharing among the libraries of the Network in gathering information, studying the local heritage and provision of accessibility to the information;

- to improve the methodological knowledge in maintaining, preserving and developing the tradition of storytelling;

- to promote the improvement of personal storytelling skills of the participants involved in the Network, the knowledge on activities of the UNESCO and the heritage in Latvia, as well as the exchange of experience interacting with the local community in the promotion of intergenerational dialogue and studying the local heritage.

Network of libraries on a regular bases is meeting in various activities organised by the Latvian National Commission for UNESCO and all the network libraries are receiving regular training, advice, consultancy and needed support. On a daily basis these libraries organise various events by themselves such as storytelling events about memories from the youth, different traditions, fascinating cases, books, travel, local heritage, etc. All these are excellent events facilitating the dialogue on local level and revealing extraordinary stories as well as talents of storytelling, event organisation and sharing with others. Such events are organized for adults, for young, as well as joint meetings are held, to unite generations and help library visitors to develop a mutually enriching dialogue, and also to share their experience and knowledge. Since 2013 there are 33 libraries in the network from all over Latvia who are regularly organising storytelling events in their libraries and actively participate in various other projects of UNESCO LNC.

UNESCO LNC at least twice a year, arranges training seminars for members of the network "Storytelling libraries", thereby encouraging to share the experience, gain new knowledge and encourage innovation. On the every occasion famous Latvian and international lecturers are invited, who help to improve the skills of the librarians in narration, event organisation, community matters. These seminars both encourage librarians themselves to be storytellers as well as give confidence for them to help others on how to narrate, listen, join in a dialogue and on how to develop on the narrations collected. Moreover within the network various innovative methods are being promoted, including the doll-art in libraries, living-libraries and others.

UNESCO LNC in developing the network is closely cooperating with well-known storytelling experts – Ms Mara Mellena, Traditional Cultural Society "Aprica" and Mr Guntis Pakalns, Institute of Literature, Folklore and Art, University of Latvia.