A Museletter mascot, a 30 year anniversary party, and a monthly crossword puzzle of Floyd County trivia were some of the ideas given at the Consensus Workshop at the library on Saturday.
The workshop was facilitated by Andy Morikawa of the Community Foundation of the New River Valley to discuss the future of the Museletter, the homespun community forum, which was created by some of Floyd's back-to-the-land-settlers more than 25 years ago for the purpose of sharing literary/artistic musings and ideas on self-reliance, growing and preserving food, holistic health, home schooling and more .
A mix of 15 longtime and newer Museletter supporters attended the three hour workshop, which not only assisted the group in arriving at a common place of clarity, but modeled the structure of the consensus building process that Andy is so skilled at guiding. After laying out some guidelines, such as "speak for yourself, one person at time, share the air," Andy prompted us to individually share when we first saw the Museletter, what it means to us, and how we see it evolving.
The stories shared were rich and varied. Museletter collating coordinator, Virginia Neukirch, talked about the positive community interaction of the monthly stapling and labeling get-togethers that she does with individuals with disabilities and others in the community.
Jayn Avery talked about the Museletter as a writer's training ground and how she didn't start out thinking of herself as a writer, but having her writing published in the Museletter was instrumental in building her confidence to become one. Elisha Siegle, who will be sharing layout coordination and who grew up reading her parent's copies, said "It's the roots of Floyd. It brings the community together." Pat Woodruff picked up her first copy in a downtown café and thought it looked cool. She said she appreciates that the Museletter features stuff that the local newspaper misses.
A turning point for me was when Andy asked us to brainstorm a list of all forms of local media (print and online) and then asked "Which one is closest to what the Museletter provides?" None really were.
Our brainstorming sessions were broken up into three working tables and eventually revealed the "Focus Question," How Can We Make the Museletter a Better Community Forum? From there, ideas flew on how to increase subscriptions and submissions through more visibility and community interaction. A semblance of ideas congealed and before we knew it we not only had a plan, we had people willing to implement it.
The consensus was that the Museletter needed a Facebook page - perhaps a first step in the Museletter's online presence, because who knows where more visibility and interaction will lead? In the first hour of being on Facebook (Saturday) 15 friends of the Museletter had signed on. As I type this today (Sunday) 157 have joined the Museletter fan club.
As someone who has been directly involved with the Museletter since I moved to Floyd in 1985 (in large part because of what I read in the Museletter after Bob Grubel sent me one), I left the meeting feeling proud of the cultural record that the Museletter has created and uplifted by its potential.
Thanks to everyone who participated and to our fans. Signed, A Muse.
Note: Read more about A Museletter HERE.