Vail Public Library unveils StoryWalk® to help families connect with books
The Vail Public Library’s new StoryWalk® in East Vail hopes to make the walking trails just as much of an educational experience as an outdoor one. Each page of the children’s book “The Mitten” has been laminated with weatherproof material and posted around Bighorn Park. Families are invited to walk the park and read the story by Jan Brett with a Spanish translation by Teresa Mlawer.
Representatives from the Vail Public Library and the town of Vail unveiled the project at a ribbon cutting on Tuesday, Feb. 16. “The Mitten” will be up until the end of winter, and book selections will change seasonally.
“We are over the moon with how well it has turned out and invite and encourage the community to venture out to Bighorn Park to enjoy a stroll around the pond to read the book, try out the activities and get to know East Vail a little bit,” said Cricket Pylman, Vail library associate who’s beloved by visitors and locals alike for her children’s storytimes.
StoryWalk® was first created by Anne Ferguson in Montpeiler, VT with her local library.
“She was looking for a way to engage the whole family in early literacy. If you think about library storytimes, parents bring their kids, then sit back and chat. The kids dance and jump around, listen (or not) to the books but it is all very fun, active and healthy,” Pylman said.
But for adults, that’s not the case. With the StoryWalk®, adults are required to be just as physically engaged as their kids.
“Now everyone is walking, talking about the book, and engaging both physically and mentally in the story,” Pylman said.
StoryWalks® have sprouted in communities all over the world, and each one puts their own spin on it. The town of Vail applied for a grant through the Institute of Museums and Library Services through the CARES Act and the Colorado State Library. The funds awarded were used to purchase quality, lasting materials like frames, 4-by-4 cedar posts, lamination and weatherproof backing materials.
Above all, the library wants children and their families to enjoy not only “The Mitten,” but also the unique experience the StoryWalk® provides.
“Our greatest hope is that people of all ages will engage in this literacy activity while enjoying time together outdoors. So healthy for minds and bodies,” Pylman said.