Storytelling isn’t just for kids – it’s a way to share culture for everyone. That’s part of the message behind this year’s KC Storytelling Celebration.
The celebration, co-sponsored by Maplewoods Community College in Kansas City and the Mid-Continent Public Library, is in its 21st year. In the past, its main event was in Maplewoods, but the festival has also held events at libraries across town.
Although the Mid-Continent Public Library has two Lee’s Summit locations, this year, as with everything, the festival is a little different and very digital. With cuts in funding for higher education, they initially feared the festival would be canceled.
In addition to what Maplewoods was able to offer, “the Mid-Continent Public Library said, ‘We can raise money – not a lot – but let’s go,” said Joyce Slater, artistic director of the library. , which has branches at Lee’s Summit. “I think it’s hopeful, and that’s what we need now. We must have a lot of hope. They’ve been a partner all the time, but they’ve never taken the lead before. “
Other sponsors include the Kansas City Public Library and River and Prairie Storyweavers.
Slater said she always prefers to tell stories in person, although this year’s circumstances don’t allow them to do so.
“You don’t know if you’re still ready, if the Wi-Fi will work that night. Since March, I have participated in numerous online conferences. Sometimes you have problems, ”Slater said.
One thing that makes her confident about the festival’s online presence is that most of the time it’s not live. The storytellers have uploaded videos of themselves telling the stories, so she won’t have to worry about Wi-Fi in various locations across the country.
Local storytellers recorded all their stories in a public library in the Mid-Continent.
“This year I have recorded programs for libraries and camps everywhere. It’s a bit strange; you have no idea how it lands. You don’t know now what the reactions are, ”Slater said, adding that the expected storytellers have all done work online.
The theme of the festival this year is “Connecting the World with Stories”.
“Stories connect people. When you know someone’s story, you can’t hate them. You can understand them a little better, ”Slater said.
The stories will cover all kinds of topics and come from a variety of backgrounds. This includes tales of farm life in Boone County, folk tales from West Africa, and anecdotes from Native American culture.
Slater said that every storyteller truly appreciates the story they tell.
“It’s hard to tell a story that you don’t really like. It’s hard to go down in history and make it your own, ”she said.
The festival is also making the videos available exclusively to schools, nursing homes and other groups who request access until November 13.
“We weren’t sure if the schools would be in session, so the links allow them to play in individual classrooms or provide it to students who are home-schooling,” said Kimberly Howard, deputy director of the community. of Mid-Continent. programming department.
This weekend’s events include stories on MCPL360 at 4 p.m. and Friday, November 6 and 11:15 a.m. and 2:15 p.m. on Saturday, November 7. To participate in the Saturday 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. storytelling workshops on Zoom, register at mymcpl.org/events/storytelling-celebration. All events are live and cannot be replayed later.
This story was originally published 5 November 2020 5:00 a.m.