Share a tale at Stillwater Public Library’s virtual StorySLAM competition

Story provided by Stillwater Public Library

The Stillwater Public Library’s final adult summer reading program is a virtual StorySLAM hosted in partnership with Modella Art Gallery. The StorySLAM will take place Saturday, July 24, at 6 p.m. The theme coincides with the summer’s theme of “Tails and Tales,” and stories should be focused on animals, art or true tales from storytellers’ lives. 

StorySLAMs are live storytelling competitions that have grown in popularity thanks to “The Moth,” a nonprofit dedicated to the art and craft of storytelling. Slams come with a set of rules. Each storyteller has a time limit of five to eight minutes, stories must be shared from memory and for library StorySLAMS, all stories need to be family-friendly.

Lisa O’Donnell, adult services librarian, is passionate about storytelling and is looking forward to hearing stories on this slam’s theme.

“Everyone loves hearing about animals, whether it’s from books on their heroics or cute videos online,” O’Donnell said. “Stories of touching friendships with furry companions and laugh-out-loud antics are bound to dominate the evening.” 

This StorySLAM is the fourth storytelling competition sponsored by the library and Modella Art Gallery. Since this year’s summer reading program was supported by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the programs all focused on different art forms, bringing the stories behind art seemed like a perfect fit.

Artwork in Modella’s current exhibit “Diversity, Equity and Inclusion” will be shown online and discussed in between storytellers.

“We cannot wait to showcase the gallery’s artwork at the StorySLAM,” O’Donnell said. “We also want to encourage local artists to tell stories about their process or to share the inspiration for specific pieces.” 

Even though the theme highlights animals and art, participants are encouraged to deviate if the tale they want to share does not fit. 

“Talking in front of others can be nerve-wracking,” O’Donnell said. “Since this slam is virtual, storytellers can stay out of the spotlight by keeping their cameras turned off. It’s a nice way to ease into public speaking.” 

Audience members also play an integral role by creating a supportive environment and voting on their favorite tale of the evening. The winner will receive a small prize. 

Attendees participating in the summer reading program will receive a secret code to enter via BookPoints to have their names put in a raffle drawing. 

Both storytellers and listeners must register in advance to receive the Zoom link to participate at

For more information about Modella visit or follow them on Facebook. The exhibit “Diversity, Equity and Inclusion” runs from July 15 through August 14. The reception will be on Friday, July 23, at 5 p.m.

The Summer Reading Program is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). To find out more about how NEA grants impact individuals and communities, visit

The Stillwater Public Library is located at 1107 S. Duck St. Library hours are Monday- Wednesday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Thursday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.