The Public Library and Intangible Cultural Heritage: The Storyteller-in-Residence Program of the Cape Breton Regional Library

Tom Urbaniak


In June 2011, the Cape Breton Regional Library Board appointed Ken Chisholm as its Storyteller-in-Residence, the first such appointment for a public library system in Nova Scotia. The board was also one of the first public bodies in Canada to make a program decision that specifically cited the UNESCO Convention on the Intangible Cultural Heritage. The part-time position was created following local and external research and consultations, and the establishment of a formal selection and advisory process. This article briefly highlights the other âlibrary laureateâ programs that were studied and presents an overview of the process adopted by the Cape Breton Regional Library. The Storyteller-in-Residence is a permanent program, although the successful candidate is named to a two-year term. The Storyteller-in-Residence helps communities to preserve memories and oral traditions, serves as an ambassador for the library, and assists with activities in the libraryâs 13 branches and two bookmobiles.


storytelling; storyteller-in-residence; intangible cultural heritage; languages and traditions; public library outreach

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ISSN: 1947-525X