Local Law Librarians Learn and Practice Storytelling at the GPLLA Institute

On June 3rd, the Greater Philadelphia Law Library Association (GPLLA) held its annual end-of-season institute at Temple University to wrap up the year, socialize, and engage in some serious professional development.  The theme of this year’s institute was “Telling Our Stories: Developing and Presenting Professional Narratives of Law Library Success.”  Storytelling has become a popular trend in business and sales, as people understand more and more how all of our interactions can be enhanced by the power of stories.


Professional Storytelling Trainer Geoffrey Berwind at the 2016 GPLLA Institute

The focus of the day was a workshop from professional storytelling trainer Geoffrey Berwind (www.storytellingsuccess.com).  Geoffrey set the stage by sharing some of his own stories with us, outlining his own realization of the potential of storytelling to move hearts, persuade others, and instill confidence.  Then, attendees broke into small groups for some hands-on work telling stories to each other, so we all got a chance to learn more about each other, and find out how easy it was to retain information when presented in a well-told story.  Finally, after a few general tips for better stories, Geoffrey left us excited about the potential to tell more stories in all aspects of our jobs.

Geoffrey’s workshop laid a strong foundation for the panels later in the afternoon.  The first panel featured librarians Catherine Dunn, Christine Scherzinger, and Greg Weyant discussing their experiences and insights about interviewing, from both sides of the table.  A great deal of this time was spent discussing how we should tell our own stories in an interview setting, and what professional experiences should be highlighted to show off our talents.

Panel two featured Gwendolyn Friedman, Tracy Maleeff, and Nicole Snyder telling the fascinating stories of how they have faced and tackled immense challenges over the course of their careers.  All three told their stories in slightly different ways which complemented the nuances of their tales.  It was inspiring to hear these stories of tribulation and triumph from three incredible women in the field!

All in all, the 2016 GPLLA Institute was an extremely informative and fulfilling experience.  I know I am now keeping my eyes open for any opportunity to integrate storytelling into everything I do!



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