(STILLWATER, OKLAHOMA / February 4, 2021) – Do you have a story to tell related to COVID-19? The Stillwater Public Library is partnering with Modella Art Gallery for a virtual StorySLAM to give the community an opportunity to share their experiences during the pandemic. The event is part of the library’s wellbeing programming efforts made possible through a grant from the Oklahoma Department of Libraries and the Institute of Museum and Library Services. “StorySLAM: Faces of COVID” will take place online via Zoom on Friday, Feb. 12, at 7 p.m.

“StorySLAM: Faces of COVID” is the third slam coordinated by the Library and Modella, but the first to relate directly to an ongoing exhibit. The “Faces of COVID” art exhibition runs through Feb. 14 and aims to acknowledge individual stories from the pandemic as expressed through the eyes of local artists. 

“Humans express themselves in a number of different ways,” said Lisa O’Donnell, adult services librarian. “Whether we communicate with pictures, the written word or our voices, we can see how much we have in common. It helps us remember that we are not alone.”

StorySLAMs, popularized by “The Moth,” are live storytelling competitions. Storytellers (slammers) should prepare to tell a true, family-friendly story that lasts approximately five to eight minutes. Rather than happening in person, this slam will take place online.

“This StorySLAM will be different,” said O’Donnell. “But, I’m hoping that having it online may help ease participants’ nerves about public speaking. You can even choose to leave your camera off if it helps make you feel more comfortable.”

The names of all interested storytellers go into a hat to be drawn at random by the host. At the end of the event, judges will decide on the best slammer of the evening. The first-place winner will receive a $25 gift card to Hideaway Pizza. 

Storytellers are needed, but listeners are essential too. 

“Audience members are there to provide encouragement and to create a safe space for sharing,” said O’Donnell. “It can be hard to share with strangers, and having a supportive group of listeners can go a long way.”

Registration is required for both storytellers and the audience. Visit http://library.stillwater.org/register.php to sign-up. The Library will email a Zoom link to join the event in advance.

View pieces from Modella’s “Faces of COVID” exhibit on their Facebook page www.facebook.com/Modellaartgallery

The Oklahoma Department of Libraries’ health literacy grant project is a nationally recognized program started to help improve Oklahoma’s low health ranking by providing health information programming through public libraries. The opinions and content of activities and materials do not necessarily reflect the position or policy of the Oklahoma Department of Libraries or IMLS, and no official endorsement should be inferred.

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.