J.J. Kapoor (center) shares his story at an Open Book event at the Des Moines Partnership

Open Book Storyteller

Be An Open Book Storyteller

Your life experiences are rich and informative. Will you tell your story to people who are interested? CultureALL and our community partners would like you to be one of the intriguing Iowans who describes their defining life moments at an Open Book library event. Here’s how you can become an Open Book Storyteller:

Become a Storyteller

How Does An Open Book Event Work?

People come to an Open Book event as if going to the public library. They start by browsing the card catalog to find book titles and summaries that interest them. Upon making their selection, they ask a Librarian for help finding the Book they want.  The Librarian will bring the Readers to you. You are the Book.

After greeting the Reader, you tell the story of your defining moment. Don’t worry: CultureALL will help you prepare. Your story will last 5 - 7 minutes. When you’re done sharing your story, you'll invite the Reader to ask you questions. Feel free to visit as long as you and the Reader like. When you are done, the Reader returns you, the Book, to the librarian. Back on the bookshelf, you’ll available for check out with the next Reader.

You may share your story with just one Reader at a time or with a small group – it all depends on the size and location of each Open Book event.

How Do I Prepare to Become an Open Book Storyteller?

Once you have committed to becoming a Book, you will be invited to attend an Open Book Story Development Workshop, where our program staff will guide you through the process of developing the 5 - 7-minute personal story you will share and provide tools and resources to help you prepare independently. You will also have a chance to practice telling your story.

If you find you can’t attend a workshop, we will work with you individually to develop your story, which you will share with CultureALL’s team prior to becoming an official Open Book Storyteller. As we hope that you will be sharing your story at multiple Open Book events, we will encourage you to remain open to suggestions for editing. We hold you and your story in high regard and want the experience to reflect well on you.

What Is The Time Commitment?

Your time commitment will depend on how experienced you are in telling your story. If you’re just getting started and are not sure what story you want to tell, it may take a few hours of writing and practice to perfect your story and feel comfortable sharing it. If you’re already an experienced storyteller, it may not take long for you to be “published” as an Open Book.  We’ll also give you the opportunity to practice sharing your story and fielding questions before your first public event.

The amount of time you spend as a Book is flexible, depending on the format of the event and your schedule. As more events are scheduled, someone from CultureALL will contact you to see if you are available. Participate in as few or as many events as you like, depending on your schedule.

CultureALL Ambassador Ayaka Harbi of Japan shares her story at an Open Book event at the Des Moines Partnership.

Is This Volunteer?

Yes – and no.  While CultureALL cannot afford to compensate you for the time you spend developing and preparing to tell your story, we respect the time that you will devote to becoming an Open Book.  Our plan is to offer an honorarium whenever you participate in an event. 

Become a Librarian

If you decide that you would rather not be a Book, but would like to be a Librarian or event volunteer instead, please sign up.

If you have questions, please email Jess Orton.

Questions

If you have additional questions before signing up to become a Book, please email our Program Director Stacey Kimberlin – or call her at 515-273-8569 ext. 1. Feel free to ask anything you want to know. For you, we are open books.

Is This Volunteer?

Yes – and no.  While CultureALL cannot afford to compensate you for the time you spend developing and preparing to tell your story, we respect the time that you will devote to becoming an Open Book.  Our plan is to offer an honorarium whenever you participate in an event. 

Become a Librarian

If you decide that you would rather not be a Book, but would like to be a Librarian or event volunteer instead, please sign up.

If you have questions, please email Jess Orton.

Questions

If you have additional questions before signing up to become a Book, please email our Program Director Stacey Kimberlin – or call her at 515-273-8569 ext. 1. Feel free to ask anything you want to know. For you, we are open books.

Be An Open Book Storyteller

Complete the form and start your journey to become an Open Book.