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Data Storytelling for Librarians

Research and Create Effective Data Tools with Professor Kate McDowell

DSTL Toolkit

Demo Version

Coming soon: Data Storytelling 101
sponsored by OCLC WebJunction

Powerful and effective stories allow us to create a roadmap that weaves together information and emotion. This webinar will provide an orientation to storytelling that centers cultural humility while leveraging storytelling dynamics, including how to practice and refine an impactful story with a live audience. Participants will learn the techniques of story construction based on three classic narrative structures, with roots in folklore and narratology, and explore examples of data stories told by and about libraries. This is an opportunity to build confidence in the ability to recognize and craft a meaningful and memorable story.


Learning outcomes:

  • Understand narrative structures

  • Gain confidence in taking risks to develop library data as a story

  • Develop skills for practicing stories with audiences

  • Recognize and increase “retellability”

Final Demo webinar coming summer 2024!

Working in Library

The Data Storytelling Toolkit for Librarians project is supported by an IMLS planning grant. Thanks to the participation of the Core Design Team and survey participants, we have developed a demo for creating library data stories. Click above to begin crafting your story!

As the project concludes, we are refining and improving the toolkit toward future implementation. This summer, we invite participants to a webinar, date and time TBD. Please connect with us through the "email me updates" button above!


Join Prof. Kate McDowell for

Data Storytelling Webinars and Research

Professor McDowell has worked with regional, national, and international nonprofits including the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO, part of WHO) and the Public Library Association (PLA). The nationally-funded IMLS project Data Storytelling Toolkit for Librarians has created a working demo. Try it above!  



Linda Smith

Professor McDowell's work empowers individuals, organizations, and communities to take control of their own narratives and use the resources and tools at their disposal to connect authentically with their audiences


Anne Craig

It is not just the content of her teaching that is significant, it is the manner in which she delivers this information. She is not only funny and warm, but also inviting of differing perspectives and inclusive of all participants, drawing listeners in and encouraging them to share their own experiences and questions. Her care is genuine; participants have reached out to her—always finding her accessible—repeatedly to find support and guidance


Matt Turk

Students consistently rate the course as extremely impactful in their careers in information science, due largely to the approach Professor McDowell has embedded in it that provides not just concrete, practical applications of the material, but a broader, deeply compassionate and thoughtful mindset that guides student learning and trajectories


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