The Parsons Public Library, in collaboration with the city of Parsons, will introduce two StoryWalks at both the Parsons Arboretum and Tolen Creek later this year.
Parsons Public Library Director Samantha Graven hopes for a start date by the fall for the installation of the permanent StoryWalks.
“So a StoryWalk is a way to combine physical activity with literacy. And it may seem like an odd mix, but it’s really an innovative way to get people of all ages out walking while reading children’s picture books,” Graven told Parsons city commissioners last month. “The pages of the books are transformed into signs that are laid out on a trail, inviting families, children, caregivers, teachers, day cares and many more to these paths and to the pages.”
StoryWalks, created in 2007 by Anne Ferguson of Montpelier, Vermont, combine physical activity and literacy, Graven said. The Vermont Bicycle and Pedestrian Coalition and Kellogg-Hubbard Library in Montpelier, Vermont, worked with Ferguson to make StoryWalks a reality. StoryWalks are now in all 50 states and other countries around the world.
With StoryWalks, people can read a book while walking and enjoying nature.
“It’s self-directed,” Graven told The Sun on Wednesday, noting she is excited for this new project.
There will be aluminum frames that hold up the boards that display the pages of the books. Crews from the city of Parsons will pour the concrete and mount the frames on concrete pads, Graven said.
At the Parsons Arboretum, the StoryWalk will start by the turtle statue in the north part of the park. The StoryWalk will circle around new native grasses at Tolen Creek. Graven told city commissioners both locations are perfect for the StoryWalks.
The city is working with the K-State Research and Extension, 4-H and Labette County Conservation District to add the native grass to Tolen Creek.
City Economic Development Director Jim Zaleski said the grass should be growing by next year.
The library has not selected the books for the StoryWalks yet. However, Graven said she expects the books to be in the theme of nature.
The books will switch after one month at each spot. On the third month, the library will introduce two new books.
Graven said the library plans to order the materials April 11.
The library looks to engage local organizations in sponsoring the StoryWalks as well.
To go along with the new StoryWalks, Graven said the library aims to offer kits, such as butterfly kits or kits with binoculars, for people to take on their walks at the Parsons Arboretum or Tolen Creek.
People could check the kits out for two weeks.
This is not the first time the Parsons Public Library has created StoryWalks; the library has created some for the annual Katy Days events in May.
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