Champion Public Library, Regional Park teaming up for StoryWalk Project

Drew Butler
The Daily Ardmoreite
News alert

The Ardmore Regional Park Authority Board voted Monday to approve a new project in conjunction with the Champion Public Library. The new project, known as StoryWalk, will consist of a single picture book spaced out along approximately a half mile of trail that will allow children and their families to enjoy the story as they get out into nature. The books will be changed once a month to allow for a diverse and seasonal selection of books to enjoy.

Champion Library Youth Services Director Stephanie Wray said StoryWalk was first founded in Montpelier, Vt. by Anne Ferguson and she explained how it would work in Ardmore.

“I spoke with Teresa (Ervin, parks and recreation director), and she thought we could start out by by the playground and weave around from there,” Wray said. “The StoryWalk is an inspirational outdoor experience that combines the love of reading with the open air to foster a sensory enriched learning environment. There are many benefits of a community StoryWalk including literacy, improving physical and mental health and family involvement. English language learners as well as children that are below their reading level can absorb information while discussing, investigating, creating and discovering with their parents, caregivers and other children.”

Wray said the project would consist of 22 wooden stands that hold a locking shadowbox with plexiglass tops. Each stand would be placed around six-feet apart and would hold a single page of the storybook along with additional activities related to the story. The stands would be placed near the pathway and relatively low to the ground to allow children the ability to easily access the story.

“In addition to the StoryWalk itself, we would also make physical visits with our bookmobile, and I would have an in-person story time there once a month so I can visit with the kids while they are there,” Wray said.

The project will entirely be funded by grants received by the Champion Public Library and will not cost the City of Ardmore any additional maintenance fees. Wray said the library will find out if they have received the grant funding some time in the middle of September, and hopes to have the StoryWalk open in October if the grant is received.

“We’d like to have it open for October, so we can have a big Halloween event to kick everything off,” Wray said.