Storytelling has long been a tradition in the Children’s Department at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh. According to The World of Storytelling by Anne Pellowski, “The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, which began regular story-hour programs in 1899, is usually credited as being among the first to have offered this activity as an accepted part of work with children in the public library.”
Ms. Pellowski continues to state that “the series that opened the formal storytelling programs in 1899 was of stories based on the plays of Shakespeare. For the second year an outline of sixteen stories from the Iliad and the Odyssey was prepared.”
And finally, “The cycles of stories told in Pittsburgh included the three already mentioned and the following: the Volsunga Saga, Robin Hood, Beowulf, Cuchulain, King Arthur and His Knights, and the Chanson de Roland. These were told in story hours for children aged ten and up. In 1902 a story hour was organized for children nine years old and younger. For them the selections were fairy tales, fables, nature myths and Bible stories.”
This oral tradition continues to this day; stories are told to all ages both in and out of the library. And, there is a group geared toward educators that meets monthly in the Children’s Dept to hone those skills, practice stories and act as a supportive group to those interested in becoming better storytellers. Everyone is welcome. Keep the storytelling tradition alive!