Libraries Create StoryWalks to get Families Outside to ReadJan 29, 2021 04:27PM ● By Grace Allen
Both the Norfolk and Wrentham libraries are holding StoryWalks this winter with the aim of creating excitement around reading. StoryWalks are literal walks through a children’s book.
The concept of StoryWalks was created in 2007 by Anne Ferguson of Montpelier, VT, in conjunction with her hometown library. The goal was to promote literacy, physical activity, and outdoor family time. Participants take a self-guided tour along a path on which pages of a children’s book have been posted.
Fiske Public Library
In Wrentham, the latest StoryWalks sponsored by the Fiske Public Library go through downtown, said Liz Nadow, the children’s librarian.
Begin at Cataldo’s Paint & Hardware to read “A Loud Winter’s Nap.” Finish the story at Reliable Dry Cleaners.
Another StoryWalk begins at the post office in the King Philip Plaza. Read “When Winter Comes: Discovering Wildlife in our Snowy Woods,” finishing at Omega Pizza.
There’s also a StoryWalk installed at the Fiske itself. “No Two Alike” starts at the library’s front door.
Participants completing two of the StoryWalks are encouraged to drop a note in the book drop with name, phone number, and date. The first 10 entries will win a $10 gift card to Omega Pizza.
Nadow says the library has received great feedback from StoryWalk participants.
“Our goal was to provide a socially distanced activity for families to do together,” she explained in an email. “We love the fact that it incorporates the outdoors, fresh air, exercise, and reading. Parents love the break from screen time. And although the library is still closed to the public, I’ve enjoyed blowing bubbles out the back door and playing music out of my office window for the patrons that come by.”
Norfolk Public Library
Norfolk Public Library has partnered with Stony Brook Wildlife Sanctuary for its StoryWalk. Another StoryWalk will be installed on town hill adjacent to the library.
According to Sarah Ward, Norfolk Library’s associate director, the library received a $2,400 grant from the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC) and the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) to install the StoryWalks, which will be changed periodically.
“The chosen StoryWalk titles are books that encourage observation and learning about what you see in nature,” said Ward.
In addition, Stony Brook will host educational programs this spring and summer, including nature walks through areas of town. The goal is to get families outside while staying local, explained Ward.
“Norfolk has many green spaces with options to unplug, take a breath, and explore while connecting with nature,” she said. In the spring, the library will provide “Exploration Kits” that include a notebook, pencil, and magnifying glass for young explorers.