Library Camp 2019 will take place on Friday, April 12 at the Ann Arbor District Library.
Murder. Mayhem. Family strife. Gateways to other worlds. Stories that the audience shapes, and that might run for months or even years.
In a corner of Michigan, one library worker and her colleagues are bringing all these things to life.
I first met Audrey Huggett in 2017, while working with Ann Arbor District Library on the Wondrous Strange event. Library technician Audrey has led a series of projects where members of the public participate in live-action storytelling, ranging from murder mystery to an epic fantasy with cosmic stakes.
Audrey joined me to talk about her work in interactive storytelling in January 2019, just as she was completing preparations for the upcoming “In Between: Quest for the Keystone”. Read more
Today we’re joined by Rich Retyi, who leads Marketing & Communications for Ann Arbor District Library (AADL). I met him during the Wondrous Strange event I ran for AADL last year, alongside other great staff like Sherlonya Turner and AADL’s director Josie Parker.
I began by asking Rich how he came to join the team at AADL.
Today, we’re joined by Josie Parker, Director at Ann Arbor District Library (AADL), an acclaimed US public library service in Michigan.
As Josie approaches her seventeenth year with the organisation, she took a little time to answer four quick questions about her journey with Ann Arbor – and what’s next for the Michigan library.
How did you get started at AADL and how has the organization changed during your time there?
I have been Director at AADL 16 ½ years. I came to work at AADL in 1999 as the Youth Department Manager. The Library was a very traditionally organized public library institution that had suffered a financial scandal leading to imprisonment for one administrator, and the eventual resignation of the Director.
I had been promoted to interim Director during the end of the upheaval, and was later offered the job. I took it without intending to be in one library most of my career, and yet, here I am. It is an awesome library and the community is very supportive financially, as well as, politically. We are able to take library services in many directions sometimes stretching them beyond recognition. We consider that a positive outcome.
What’s your proudest career achievement so far?
Imagine letting your community dream wildly of the world to come.
Imagine collaborating on a future history spanning millennia.
Imagine turning public space into something that was wondrous and strange.
As part of our time-travel themed festival of weirdness, storytelling, art and science at Ann Arbor District Library, we asked visitors to write postcards from the future.
We collected over 80 tales stretching from 2018 to the year 5000.
I’m just back from a week delivering training and community engagement for Ann Arbor District Libraries, an acclaimed public library service in Michigan, USA.
The micro-residency culminated in an all-ages half-day event called “Wondrous Strange”, blending play, history, prophecy, technology, art, craft, science fiction, time travel, and storytelling.
Wondrous Strange was an opportunity for the Ann Arbor community to venture into an imagined world blending fact and fiction, and to create their own shared stories and experiences stretching from recorded history into the distant future.
More on my Michigan visit soon, but for now here’s a short video from last Sunday’s session.