APL Storytellers

We're about to embark on a very exciting journey. Over the course of the last few months, we've been working with ten of our community members to gather their personal stories about how the library has helped them create their future. Each person has a unique story to tell. During the next eight weeks we will be releasing the stories to our community, online and here at the library.

We hope you become an APL Storyteller too! Let's get the conversation started about our library and the role it plays in our community. Share your story with us, your neighbors, your friends, everyone you can! And don't forget to check back next week for the debut of our first storyteller.

APL Storyteller - Perla

About a year ago my family and I moved to the United States from Mexico. I grew up in Mexico and had a career, and coming to the United States was like starting life all over again. My greatest hope after moving here was, and continues to be, that I am able to help my daughter achieve all her goals in life. I had a large barrier in front of me – I wasn’t fluent in English. But I knew I needed to try every possible way I could to help her be successful, like any other child in this country.

APL Storyteller - Kari

Two winters ago, a NPR program on seed libraries caught my attention. I instantly fell in love with the idea of a community based seed stock and began searching for one near Appleton. Needless to say, I came up short finding one, but it ignited a desire to research what it would take to open one. During 2015, I immersed myself with borrowed books on various topics surrounding the lore of seeds. I also visited Seed Savers Exchange in Decorah, Iowa for their annual conference where I learned about updates on seed legislation issues, gained hands on seed saving techniques and encouragement to see the opening of a local seed library through.

APL Storyteller - Brigetta and Peyton

I grew up on the Stockbridge-Munsee (Mohican) reservation in northern Wisconsin. My first memories of a library took place on the Stockbridge-Munsee reservation. Our library was connected to our historical museum and located only a short distance from our home. It was a place where tourists and tribal members came to explore family ancestry, learn about our Mohican Nation history, read books, view the collection of historical artifacts, and personally connect with others from our community.

APL Storyteller - Sharrie

A couple of years ago I was looking for a writing group to join. I couldn’t find a writing group that met my needs. A writing group where you could write just for fun, with no critique.

I had been coming to the library for another class, so I was familiar with the staff at the library. I decided that I would pitch my idea of a new writing group to one of the library supervisors. The supervisor loved the idea; but due to staffing demands, the library would need to work with an outside source interested in facilitating the group. Without another thought, I interviewed to be the facilitator of the group, and I was accepted.

APL Storyteller - Nick

When I was twelve or thirteen, I was struggling with feelings I couldn’t really understand or explain. I felt different from my peers and even the adults around me. The other boys my age were becoming “girl crazy,” and I just couldn’t relate.

One day at the library I was browsing the Young Adult section when I randomly came across Am I Blue: Coming Out from the Silence, a collection of fictionalized “coming out” stories. I began to read the first few pages and almost immediately felt a rush of recognition and relief - “this is about me.” I checked out the book, brought it home, and read it Harry Potter style – cover-to-cover in one sitting.

APL Storyteller - Emily

I was in the children's section of the library one day, when the always lovely Kristi Helmkamp approached me about an Artist-in-Residency opportunity at the library. Of course, being the easily excitable "yes" person that I am, I agreed to participate without hesitation! I was super flattered to be invited, to think that someone thought I had something worth sharing. It also came at a time when my family was facing some personal struggles in the dead of winter depression, so the project was a welcomed other-focus.

APL Storyteller - Sean

I started working for the library five years ago. My teachers Jean and Diane set me up to work here through the Life Program at Appleton North High School. I started working with four friends, but I am the only one who continues to work at the library.

I come to the library to shelve materials Monday through Thursday starting at 10:00 am. I walk here from my house, even if it’s raining. My favorite part of my job is shelving the green DVDs. After I am done with my shelving job, I like to go on the computers. I also like to check out DVDs.

“Sean has put in over 1,100 hours volunteering here at the library,” said Kris, Sean’s Supervisor. “He is enthusiastic, caring and takes ownership of his work.

APL Storyteller - Soua and Nhia

My name is Nhia and my wife’s name is Soua. In 2005, our family relocated to the United States from Thailand as Hmong refugees. With no understanding of the language or the culture, we arrived on American soil, determined to rebuild our lives. Most Hmong refugees who come to the United States have traumatizing experiences; first escaping the war, then struggling with cultural differences, language barriers and the everyday stress of achieving the American dream. Like many refugees, our hope was to begin a career, but we didn’t have the skills. When we arrived, we could barely understand English.