The Grand Rapids Area Library (GRAL) is excited to present it’s the newest activity for those who like to combine their love for reading and the outdoors. After having some temporary  StoryWalk® projects, the GRAL has established a permanent StoryWalk ® along the Mississippi River by the library. 

The StoryWalk® project was created by Anne Ferguson of Montpelier, VT and developed in collaboration with the Kellogg-Hubbard Library. A StoryWalk ® places a children’s story along a path or road that people walk along. The book is taken apart and spread out along the path. Participants can stop at each station to read the next pages of the books. The GRAL StoryWalk® begins at the fishing pier by the library and ends at the walking bridge behind the library that crosses the river. 

GRAL Children’s Librarian Tracy Kampa said choosing the first book was a challenge. 

“First, I didn’t want a book that was very familiar to a lot of people, as I wanted them to have to stop and read each station, rather than skipping over parts they knew,” Kampa explained. “I wanted the two-page spreads to have illustrations that were deep and saturated with color, and I wanted not only a story with a twist, but one that played with words and sounds as well. Words are fun!”

In the end, “One Dark Night,” by Lisa Wheeler, illustrated by Ivan Bates, was the perfect book for the StoryWalk®. Each book will be up for about six weeks, but stories will stay up longer in the winter when the path is not used as much as the warmer months. 

The GRAL StoryWalk® is funded completely by the Grand Rapids Area Library Foundation. 

“As we are unable to offer any programming at this time, the Foundation was able to honor our request for a StoryWalk,” Kampa said. “Our Foundation has also been behind our updated children’s and teen areas, our new computers in the Children’s Library, and new furniture throughout the library. We rely heavily on the Grand Rapids Area Foundation.”

Many other groups came together to bring this project to life. The Friends of the GRAL provided funding for the books used, backer boards, velcro to keep the pages centered and even the tape used. Additionally, the Public Works Department of the City of Grand Rapids helped with the installation while the Parks and Recreation Department is known as the brains behind the river trail, according to Kampa. 

She added, “Without them, we wouldn’t have a walk on which to place a story!”

For more information, visit the GRAL Facebook page at “Grand Rapids Area Library.”



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