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Library Takeover: Essential Stories Event

Apr 12, 2022
Library Takeover Essential Stories Event

Essential: True Stories of Unseen Work

May 14, 4-6 p.m. at Lisa Link Peace Park (452 State St.)

RAIN LOCATION: Central Library

Madison Public Library’s Library Takeover program will launch its final event of the 2021-2022 class on Saturday, May 14, 4-6 p.m. The event, Essential: True Stories of Unseen Work is an opportunity for essential workers to share their stories from the pandemic and beyond. People from all walks of life are invited to attend and share a 5-minute story open-mic style during this outdoor event.

"We want this event to be about unseen or underappreciated work, so people can share stories from the pandemic, but they don't have to be that specific," said the Essential Stories team. "If you work in food service, healthcare, education, etc. we want to hear from you. We're hoping to hear a lot of diverse perspectives at this event, and to hear from those who maybe haven't felt brave or safe enough to share their story previously."

The organizing team has also invited a handful of featured storytellers to share a 10-minute story each at different times throughout the event. Featured speakers include: 

  • Andi Cloud, who served as the Native American Storyteller-in-Residence for Madison Public Library in Fall 2021.
  • Marisol Gonzalez-Rodriguez, a Mexican, writer, poet, storyteller, business owner, Spanish tutor, mother, wife, and advocate for justice.
  • Rep. Francesca Hong, a restaurant worker/owner who changed careers during the pandemic and is now the State Representative for the 76th District of the Wisconsin State Assembly.
  • Beverly Hutcherson, Outreach and Communications Manager for Diversity and Inclusion at UW Madison School of Medicine and Public Health.
  • Wilson Seely, a teacher at White Horse Middle School and former winner of The Moth.

The event will be hosted by local comedian Dina Nina Martinez and the event will be DJ-ed by Rob Dz. Sign language interpretation will be available throughout the event, including for the open mic stories. As people share their stories, there will be a positivity board set up where attendees can post positive comments, feedback and reflections for storytellers to read and enjoy after they speak. The event will include a grab-and-go Maker Kit on storytelling, as well as a book list curated by the Essential Stories team. 

Library Takeover 2021-2022 Essential Stories TeamThis event was planned and facilitated by four local storytellers, poets and comedians: Dave Nelson, Mel Hammond, Charles Payne and Zachary who applied to be part of the Library Takeover program. Three teams applied and were accepted, ultimately undertaking a 4-part course on event planning and being mentored by local Madison movers and shakers over the past three months. Madison Public Library provides funding, free space and marketing for each event. 

Library Takeover is funded by the Madison Public Library Foundation and in partnership with Downtown Madison. This gathering will follow any Madison & Dane County Public Health guidance in effect at the time of the event.

Featured Storytellers:

Andi Cloud

Andi Cloud Essential Stories Speaker Library TakeoverAndi Cloud is an enrolled member of the Ho-Chunk Nation. Her Ho-Chunk, waksik, name is Nizuwi, Rain Woman. Andi has worked in the education field, teaching a variety of ages that range from toddlers to adults. She has also worked for her tribal government and has been a part of different Ho-Chunk boards and task groups in past years. The last two years she has spent learning the crafts of sewing and beadwork. She sells both online, at craft fairs, and through personal orders. In fall 2021, she became Madison Public Library’s first Indigenous storyteller-in-residence.

Marisol Gonzalez-Rodriguez

Marisol Gonzalez Essential Stories Speaker Library TakeoverMarisol is a Mexican, writer, poet, storyteller, business owner, Spanish tutor, mother, wife, and advocate for justice. She loves nature, camping, traveling, meeting new people, and telling stories at storytelling events. She came to the USA at age nineteen to achieve the American dream. Her purpose in life is to put on paper her voice and ideas to strive for equity. She is changing the world by writing diverse children's books and is working on a short stories collection about her life as an immigrant. 

Rep. Francesca Hong

Francesca Hong Essential Stories Speaker Library TakeoverBorn  and  raised  in  Madison  WI, Francesca  Hong  is a 1st  generation  Korean  American  mother, chef  and  community  organizer.  In  2016  after  the  birth  of  their  son,  Francesca  and  her partner Matt  opened  Morris  Ramen  Restaurant  in  downtown  Madison.  Shortly  after, Francesca  co-founded  the Culinary  Ladies  Collective  (CLC)  and  currently  serves  as  Board  President.  CLC  is  an organization  which  aims  to  empower  women  and  non-binary  food  and  beverage  professionals through  shared  resources,  networking,  and  fundraising  for  non-profit  organizations. Francesca is also the first Asian American to serve in the Wisconsin State Legislature and represents the communities of the  76th Assembly District.

Beverly Hutcherson

Beverly Hutchinson Essential Stories Speaker Library TakeoverScientist-Educator, Motivational Speaker, Workforce Strategist, and Diversity Consultant Beverly Hutcherson, MS is the Administrative Director of The Ladder and the Outreach and Communications Manager for Diversity and Inclusion at UW Madison School of Medicine and Public Health. Beverly Hutcherson, MS is passionate about connecting the biomedical community to the public via community education and outreach ventures and is determined to approach Equity, Diversity and Inclusion work in all spaces with truth and compassion.

Wilson Seely

Wilson Seeley Essential Stories Speaker Library TakeoverWilson Seely (Bio) grew up in Madison, WI. He graduated from UW-Madison with a teaching degree, and he has over ten years of teaching at Whitehorse Middle School. Mr. Seely is married to his high school sweetheart Samantha, and they are fortunate to have both his family and hers with them here in town. He was adopted from South Korea as an infant, and this year he found his birth mother and adventured back to Korea for the first time to meet her. 


Dina Nina Martinez

Dina Nina Martinez Essential Stories Host Library TakeoverDina Nina Martinez, who was called “…very funny.” by the Late Late Show’s James Corden, is a transgender stand up comedian and actor. Her signature blend of disarming sass and charm has been featured in comedy festivals and multiple world-class comedy venues including LA Pride, The Chicago Women’s Funny Festival, LA’s The Comedy Store and Chicago’s Zanies Comedy Club. Dina Nina Martinez will be our host and is NOT telling a story.


Rob Dz

Rob Dz Essential Stories DJ Library TakeoverRob Franklin, also known as Rob Dz, is the Media Projects Bubblerarian for the Madison Public Library. As a Kennedy Center certified teaching artist for the Making Justice program his primary residency focus is on Hip Hop, Personal Branding and Spoken Word as a positive form of self-expression. Rob has held residencies with Madison youth in elementary, middle, and high schools, community centers, the Dane County Juvenile Detention Center and Juvenile Shelter Home, Neighborhood Intervention Program, Madison Jazz Consortium and with The Black Star Drum Line. As a musician, he has performed with the likes of Nas, Eminem, Common, Talib Kweli, Dead Prez and others. In 2017, he was inducted to both the American Folklife Center at the Library Of Congress and The National Museum of African American History and Culture as a member of The Story Corps program. Rob will be our DJ and is NOT telling a story.