The Flower Mound Public Library has partnered with Flower Mound Parks and Recreation to combine two essential elements of childhood- the great outdoors and reading – through its new StoryWalk project in Heritage Park. Now families can read a book on display as they stroll and play. Heather Botelho, Flower Mound Public Library Youth Services Manager, tells us all about the project, which has been two years in the making.
Tell me about the Library’s new StoryWalk at Heritage Park. What inspired the idea?
“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.”
We started talking about creating a Storywalk when the Library was closed due to Covid-19 and being under construction as a way to reach the community when they couldn’t come into the building. The more that we researched, the more that we determined that we would need a grant so that we could have a long-lasting installation.
How does the Story Walk work?
Once a book is chosen and copies are purchased, the pages are cut apart and double-page spreads are placed onto posters in numbered sign holders. Families follow the signs to read the story. Each sign also includes story enhancements, such as suggested questions that parents can ask their children or ways to interact with the story, or early literacy tips. At the end of the StoryWalk is a sign with a QR code to a featured craft. Parents can either send us pictures of their child doing the craft to be shared on our social media, or they can bring their child’s craft to the Children’s Desk to be displayed in the Library.
What stories will be featured?
How Do Dinosaurs Go to School? by Jane Yolen currently is being featured. This summer we had stories that matched our Summer Reading Challenge theme, Oceans of Possibilities. Future books will be themed to match what might be happening during that month or to the season or town events.
Who is the Story Walk geared toward?
The StoryWalk is geared toward preschool and elementary students, though all ages may enjoy it!
What do you hope to accomplish with the Story Walk?
We hope that families will see the StoryWalk as an activity they can do together in our beautiful park; that parents might learn a little about the importance of reading through our early literacy tips; and that they’ll visit the Library!
I understand the local StoryWalk project was a partnership with Parks and Recreation?
Yes, the Parks department assisted with the grant application, determined the best location for the StoryWalk and coordinated the installation of the signs.
What has been the response from the community?
Everyone has given such positive feedback!
In today's electronic/gadget-centered environment, StoryWalk is such a wonderful way to combine reading and nature. Can you speak to this? We find that people in our community take advantage of whatever nice weather we get by being outdoors whenever they can, and we’re so lucky to have a lot of outdoor areas in Flower Mound for people to visit. We also find that our community tends to recognize how important reading is for kids, based on how many participants we have in our storytime classes and readers in our Summer Reading Challenge. We’re happy that we can encourage both with our StoryWalk.