IMLS Libraries Project

Our second national cohort: 20+ cities, towns and places started this spring

Last month we launched our second national training program for libraries. More than 40 applied in early 2023. The majority completed the first phase (2 sessions) and was selected to continue in the second phase (4 sessions in April of 2023).

From Seward, Alaska, to Broward County, Florida, our spring cohort of libraries are creating outdoor games and interactive stories with their local communities.

The program is part of a series called “Engaging Beyond Our Walls,” supported by the IMLS. Adding together fall and spring cohorts, a total of 46 unique cities and counties will have been a part of the series.

What are they making? One plans to offer “texting with a statue” that happens to be a large-scale dinosaur; others include: an interactive scavenger hunt that ties into an existing walking tour; a mural walking tour; a texting adventure with three birds; a time machine scavenger hunt; a choose your own adventure story created with teens; and a placemaking heritage walk.

Logos from participating libraries include:

Several libraries will host DIY workshops to empower residents to “make their own” games and interactive stories using the Hive Mechanic tool that we created; the tool centers on text messaging, voice trees, and connecting to city data streams.

Another group of libraries will make physical “storytelling boxes,” often using library makerspaces. Each box will tell a different story, bringing together physical making and STEM skills with history and community-based storytelling.

Check back this summer for photographs of early playtests, and emerging models for what libraries can build. Meanwhile, our research continues into how libraries can become “nodes” for community storytelling, and how we can democratize the design process so that ordinary people and community groups can directly make their own interactive stories and outdoor games.

We hope to offer a more asynchronous version of our training in the fall of 2024. Sign up to be informed when the application opens.

Locations for our spring cohort:


Seward Community Library & Museum – Workshop Group


South San Francisco Public Library


Broward County Library


Spencer County Public Library


New Orleans Public Library – Workshop Group

West Feliciana Parish Library


Prince George’s County Memorial Library System


Grand Ledge Area District Library


Arrowhead Library System

St. Peter Public Library


The Laurel-Jones County Library System

Ste. Genevieve County Library – Workshop Group


West Fargo Public Library


Haddonfield Public Library

New Providence Memorial Library

Taylor Memorial Library


Clifton Springs Library

Manlius Library

Ramapo Catskill Library System


Columbus State Community College Library

Heights Libraries – Storytelling Box Group


Ponca City Library – Workshop Group


Coyle Free Library

Emmaus Public Library


Pasadena Public Library


Milton Public Library

Wisconsin University Library


Loudoun County Public Library