What are StoryWalks?
The StoryWalk® program is an innovative idea that brings books out of the library to well-populated outdoor spaces in the community. StoryWalks promote reading and libraries in a non-traditional environment, allowing families to combine reading a story with physical activity. They give children the opportunity to develop literacy skills while playing, and the whole family can partake in fun, healthy outdoor exercise.
A StoryWalk consists of pages that have been removed from a picture book and glued onto posters, which are then staged outside the library, in a park, or other walkable public space. Most of the posters contain two pages side-by-side, and are arranged so that participants can read a story from beginning to end while walking along a path. Each poster "page" of the StoryWalk that we create in the Appalachian Regional Library system contains a Literacy Tip, and an Activity Prompt to take advantage of the interactive nature of this project.
How we implemented StoryWalks at ARL
When we received the LSTA StoryWalk, StoryBook, StoryReader grant, it presented an exciting opportunity and a new challenge for us. We had to figure out how and where to present the StoryWalks to achieve maximum exposure. We came to an agreement with the park services in our counties, allowing us to put up permanent StoryWalk installations. The permanency of these installations allowed us to switch out StoryWalks every month with less hassle. Those installations also kept the StoryWalks safe from weather and vandalism, making it possible to keep stories up year-round. We also found businesses on streets with high pedestrian traffic that were willing to let us put temporary StoryWalks in their store windows.
In each park, we put up 20 enclosures, one for each poster. One issue with this is that most of the stories we used only took up about 14-16 posters. To take advantage of the additional space, we made a couple semi-permanent posters explaining the concept of StoryWalks to the public. For other empty spaces, we created posters advertising upcoming library events, and promoting the surveys in order to get feedback required by the grant. This proved to be effective in soliciting public input.
The StoryWalk® Project was created by Anne Ferguson of Montpelier, VT and developed in collaboration with the Kellogg Hubbard Library. StoryWalk® is a registered service mark owned by Ms. Ferguson.