Later this year, Moreland Park should have the city's first StoryWalk, a project that mixes literacy and family engagement.
Daviess County Public Library earned a $6,850 grant from Owensboro Health to fund the StoryWalk at Moreland Park, said Shannon Sandefur, library community engagement manager.
What is a StoryWalk? As families make their way around trail through Moreland Park, there will be stations at which they can stop and read pages from a book. When people complete one trip around, they will have read an entire picture book.
"It's exercise for your body as well as your mind," Sandefur said.
The library plans to change the reading material three to four times a year. Books will be geared for families with children ages 12 and younger.
Owensboro Parks and Recreation is a partner in the project. It will install reading stations throughout the park.
StoryWalks first started in 2007 at the Kellogg-Hubbard Library in Montpelier, Vermont. Since then, StoryWalks have been placed in every state and 12 countries.
"I knew I wanted to create something where the parents had to be as active as the children," StoryWalk Project founder Anne Ferguson wrote in an online project history. "Active parents have active children and physical activity is a key component to chronic disease prevention."
DCPL will purchase oversized picture books and separate the double-page spreads. Parks and Recreation will install posts to support 18-inch-by-24-inch frames, which will hold the book pages.
"They will be at an angle so they will be easier to see," Sandefur said.
The project will feature 20 reading stations, leaving room for the book's introduction and its end.
StoryWalks have cropped up in Louisville, Lexington and Paducah.
The McCracken County Cooperative Extension office started its StoryWalk a few years ago in conjunction with its Halloween Trunk or Treat, so Paducah's StoryWalk is a one-night annual event.
"At each trunk, there is a page from a book," said Denise Wooley, agent for family and consumer sciences. "At the last trunk, each family takes home a copy of the book."
Of course, some families grab their Halloween treat and go to the next trunk, Wooley said. "But we hear and see some of the families reading as they go along."
Sandefur hopes StoryWalk at Moreland Park is ready for readers later this autumn.
"We're really excited about it and its potential," Sandefur said of the project. "We can't wait to get started on it."
Renee Beasley Jones, 270-228-2835, firstname.lastname@example.org