Photo by Chung Chow
Richmond Public Library is taking an innovative approach to reading.
Adopting The StoryWalk® Project, created by Anne Ferguson of Montpelier, Vermont and developed in collaboration with the Kellogg Hubbard Library, the local project aims to share the joy of books with the public—by taking the art form outside.
“We thought (The StoryWalk® Project) was a fantastic idea so we decided to create Storywalk kits for our library and make them available for borrowing,” says Melanie Au, co-ordinator of children and family services at the Richmond Public Library.
“We would love to see some permanent installations along trails (for example along the dyke and Richmond Nature Park), stands that display the pages of a book and allow the pages to be changed once in a while, so that people walking the trail can read different stories at different times.”
The local project is a partnership with the Richmond Fitness and Wellness Association and City of Richmond Community Services. Au says the goal is to promote language and physical literacy as well as outdoor play. Ten Storywalk kits have been created so far, using funds generously donated by the Friends of the Library and Decoda Literacy Solutions. Each kit includes laminated pages of a book and a facilitator guide with instructions for leading a Storywalk. Since this is a pilot collection with a limited number of items, Storywalk kits will only be available to community centres, city park facilities and schools for borrowing. This lending policy will be re-evaluated in the fall after the library has a sense of the demand for this collection.
Storywalk programs were held earlier this year at the Richmond Move for Health Week Wee Walk on May 16 and Richmond Nature Park Sense of Wonder Walk on June 24, in addition to the Early Years Fair earlier this month. The library also has additional programs scheduled on Aug. 20 at the Steveston Library and July 26 and Aug. 16 (in partnership with Richmond Family Place) at the Hamilton Community Centre Play and Learn program.
“Storywalk programs so far have been received with enthusiasm and many community centre and school staff are excited about being able to use the kits in their classrooms,” says Au.