New StoryWalk 'win-win situation' for city, library, families

Cary Ashby • Updated May 6, 2018 at 10:29 PM

Stacey Church could hardly contain her enthusiasm for the new StoryWalk project in Norwalk.

“I think it’s so cool because I love the outdoors and I love reading. This is a great opportunity to combine these together,” said the assistant director of the Norwalk Public Library. “I’m super happy they let us use this park.”

StoryWalk is an interactive reading adventure at Sofios Family Park, 38 N. Old State Road. The library held the grand opening Friday, with many parents and their young children ready to experience it.

Set up along the boardwalk — which is about 4/10 of a mile long — are 19 signs that feature one page from a book on an activity sheet that was printed by Foghorn Designs.

Church said it’s a fun, free opportunity to work with the Norwalk Parks and Recreation Department, which collaborated on the project. It was funded by a private grant to the library.

“It took about a year-and-a-half,” Church said.

Anne Ferguson, of Montpelier, Vt., created the StoryWalk concept and developed it in collaboration with the Vermont Bicycle & Pedestrian Coalition and Kellogg-Hubbard Library.

Morgan Wyke enjoyed the Norwalk StoryWalk with her 18-month-old son Gabriel. 

“It was wonderful. We definitely would come back,” said Wyke, who believes the perfect age range is 10 months to five years.

Each sign along the path includes an activity.

“You had to hiss like a snake and hop like a bunny,” Wyke said.

At the start of the StoryWalk is a playground, which now includes two wooden, convertible bench-tables. Three more are at the nearby pavilion. They were a local Eagle Scout project.

Recreation director Niki Cross shared how StoryWalk came to fruition in Norwalk.

“She (Church) contacted me and said, ‘I have a great opportunity,’” Cross said, referring to the grant. “We brought the idea to general services, which would be responsible for installing the posts.”

Part of the process included measuring where each station would be so they would be as equidistant as possible. 

The plan is to feature a new story every three months.

“It’s a picture book, but there are words in it, so the kids will read it,” Church said. 

Like the assistant library director, Cross is pleased with the way the city and library worked together.

“Collaborations are the key to bringing things like this to our community. It’s a win-win situation,” Cross said.

If you are interested in donating to StoryWalk, call Stacey Church at 419-668-6063.

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