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Chelmsford Gets a StoryWalk

   July 24th, 2013

My library has partnered with the Chelmsford Open Space Stewards to create a StoryWalk along one of our local trails.

The idea of StoryWalk, which originated with Anne Ferguson of Montpelier, VT, is to line a trail with pages from a picture book, which kids (and adults) can read while on their walk/hike. The pages are laminated so as to be weather-proof, and attached to wooden stakes driven into the ground along the trail.

It's a very simple project to do, but looks great and is a lot of fun for trail walkers. Library staff prepared all the pages and stakes, and the volunteer Stewards cleared the trail and installed the stakes - here's a slideshow of the installation and trail:

The StoryWalk was put in last weekend, and the "ribbon cutting" ceremony officially announcing the trail is this Saturday. The plan is to swap out a new story each season, and if all goes well hopefully start a monthly rotation.

The first four books were purchased by the Friends of the Library, who also paid for the lamination (all the wood and other materials were donated). For the future, we're hoping to get a local hardware store and office supply store to donate the wood and lamination services, too.

The first story chosen was Sheep Take a Hike, by Nancy Shaw and illustrated by Margot Apple. It's a perfect story for the natural trail selected (Sunny Meadow in South Chelmsford), and subsequent stories will also be seasonal - something in the snow for winter, etc. I like this project a lot because it's one of those great outside-the-library ideas that bring literacy and fun to where our patrons already are. Plus, it's easy!

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6 Responses to “Chelmsford Gets a StoryWalk”

  1. Emma Says:

    I love that idea! One practical (and maybe ignorant) question: Do you cut up an ordinary picture book to get the laminated pages? And if so, is that difficult?

  2. Brian Herzog Says:

    @Emma: we did just purchase a regular book and laminate the pages. I wasn’t involved in that part, and now that I think about it, we must have purchased two copies to get both sides of the page. Hmm. To laminate them, the Childrens Librarian just went to Staples and they did it – which I think cost about $30.

  3. Sarah Says:

    This is such a great idea! We have a lot of trails around the library where I work.

    Since your FOL purchased the books, there’s no copyright issue, correct?

  4. Brian Herzog Says:

    @Sarah: Yes, no copyright issues because, remember, this is old-timey “ownership” in that we bought the book, we own it, so we can do whatever we want with it. We’re not making a new copy of it, just making it available to the public like we already do in the library. Also, the VT FAQ reports that many families, after reading the StoryWalk book, go buy their own copy to read at home. What, library use increasing book sales? According to ebook publishers, that never happens.

  5. Sarah Says:

    That was what I thought. Now to convince the higher-ups…

    Thanks for the prompt response and great blog!

  6. Brian Herzog Says:

    @Sarah: you are welcome (and thank you). If I can answer any other questions to help you convince them, just let me know.