By SUE SUCHYTA
Sunday Times Newspapers
MELVINDALE – The Melvindale Public Library staff will welcome warmer weather with trilingual, outdoor children’s StoryWalks in nearby Kiwanis Reading Park, to appeal to those who love reading and the great outdoors.
Youth Services Librarian Jeannine Warrow said StoryWalks, which are in all 50 states and 14 countries, feature laminated pages from children’s books which are attached to wooden stakes and installed along an outdoor path.
The concept was created by Anne Ferguson of Montpelier, Vt., and developed in collaboration with Rachel Senechal of the Kellogg-Hubbard Library in Montpelier, as explained at kellogghubbard.org/storywalk.
Warrow said the concept begins with the dismantling of a storybook, with the pages laminated, then mounted on stakes around the park. It will likely begin and end at the library building itself.
“They just follow the stakes, hence, the walk,” she said. “So, they are going to read the story – there will be two pages – and then they walk over to the next stake.”
Warrow said StoryWalks are something that libraries throughout the country have started doing because of COVID-19.
“It’s a nice way to bring families closer to the library, or at least out of the house,” she said. “Which I think is important, because we can’t do in-person story times, but at the same time, I like the idea that it’s an outside activity.”
Warrow said StoryWalks are something families can do together.
“One of our goals is to have the stories translated into both Arabic and Spanish, so that we can involve more members of the community,” she said. “The StoryWalk guidelines are as long as you don’t change the pages, and you are using the actually book, and not making copies, you are not duplicating it, and as long as you are not changing the book, the copyright is fine.”
Warrow said she uses three copies of a book, so she can get the front and back, and dismantles the pages.
She said the first book will be “When Spring Comes” by Caldecott Medalist and Newbery Honor author Kevin Henke and acclaimed painter Laura Dronzak.
“I like it because the words are simple, and the pictures are bright and colorful, and it really looks ‘spring,’” Warrow said. “So, it will be nice to have that to kick it off.”
She said her goal is to change the story each month, and run it through the end of October, because she doesn’t think their lamination technique would hold up well during the winter months.
“This is an initial StoryWalk,” Warrow said. “Ultimately, it would be nice if we could have a more permanent fixture year-round.”
She said there are actually companies that build and create StoryWalks, and it would be nice if a Scout seeking an Eagle or Gold Award project would be interested in making some more permanent fixtures for a StoryWalk path that could be utilized year-round.
“It is nice to start small, so you gain that interest, and show people that this is a positive experience with your family,” Warrow said. “Then, maybe, write a grant to get money for lumber and more permanent fixtures.”
She said she hopes to introduce new stories as well as include some classics that children will enjoy at any age.
“It’s outside, older brothers and sisters will bring their younger brothers and sisters, and parents will bring the whole family,” Warrow said. “My goal is so that it’s enjoyable for everyone.”
She said she would like to work with the Parks and Recreation Department to create popup story walks at different parks, recycling the StoryWalks they launch at Kiwanis Reading Park.
Warrow said school personnel are helping her with the translations.
For more information about the Melvindale Public Library, go to Melvindale.lib.mi.us, or go to the Melvindale Public Library Facebook page.