Tips: Creating a story stroll for your library
What will you call it?
A StoryWalk® has to be acknowledged in certain ways. You should use the StoryWalk® trademark and include the following statement in all promotions of the project: “The StoryWalk® Project was created by Anne Ferguson of Montpelier, VT and developed in collaboration with the Kellogg-Hubbard Library. Storywalk® is a registered service mark owned by Ms. Ferguson.” All usage of the Storywalk® mark must comply with these guidelines, and must be limited to use in connection with educational, noncommercial projects consistent with the StoryWalk® Project mission to promote literacy.
You can also call it something else to avoid the issue of acknowledgement. GPLS calls our kits Story Strolls.
Do you want a temporary or permanent Story Stroll?
If permanent, Barking Dog Exhibits has a great kit made specifically for Story Strolls. You also can check with local printers and promotional companies to see if they have similar options. The kit from Barking Dog Exhibits costs in the ballpark of $7,000.
A temporary Story Stroll is typically printed on yard signs (like the ones for political candidates) with H stakes. These are pretty durable but also can be damaged more easily. Printing each story will cost $300-600.
Determine your story(ies)
What story or stories do you want to include? Make a list and then determine each story’s publisher. Reach out to the publisher’s permission via their website. For example, you can Google: “Simon and Schuster permissions.”
Here’s an example of language we used:
We are hoping to secure permission to scan and print two copies of each spread for Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Pena, published by GP Putnam’s Sons for a StoryWalk.
I am writing on behalf of Georgia Public Library Service, and we are the state administrative library that works on behalf of Georgia’s public libraries. You can learn more about us at georgialibraries.org.
We will not modify any part of the book. We will simply display each spread separately on a series of panels for an outdoor story stroll. Our library’s information and website will surround the panels but not touch or change the story’s pages. The project will be displayed in the state of Georgia in public areas to encourage families to read more and get a public library card. We are seeking permission to display the story for two years. We will reapply for permission at that point. Thank you for your consideration, and please let me know what other information you may need.
Not every publisher will get back to you, but most will. For our project, we made about 15 requests and received 12 approvals. Only one publisher wanted to charge us for using the book. Pages can not be scanned or reproduced without permission.
Once you receive permission, be sure to note the specific language you need to use for acknowledgements on each panel or story. Also keep track of when you will need to ask for permission after one or two years, however long permission is granted.
We tried to compile a diverse selection of books and authors.
How will you display the panels on a temporary Story Stroll?
GPLS secured permission to scan each page for improved quality. A second option, if you don’t have funds to scan, would be to purchase two copies of the story you want to use and take it apart to tape it on each sign.
The pages you use can not be altered in any way. You can add additional information around the pages.
How can you make it accessible to those with low vision?
GPLS worked with Georgia Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled staff to record audio versions of each panel, which are accessed through a QR code on each panel. Recordings are stored on YouTube.
We placed a tactile sticker next to the QR code.
Where will you display the Story Stroll?
You may have space on your library ground to set up the Story Stroll. Be sure to space out the panels. Consider hosting storytimes in conjunction with your Story Stroll.
A great option is to reach out to potential local partners – parks, businesses, etc – to see if they may be willing to display the Story Stroll on their property. That will help you raise awareness of your library to a wider audience.
What else should you include on the panels?
Consider an introductory panel that gives information about what a Story Stroll is, how this one was funded, and any permissions language.
On your last panel, consider a QR code for a guest book so people can submit photos and information about how they enjoyed the walk. Also include language about your library – where it is, benefits of a free library card, and so on.
GPLS included movement language on the back of each panel (“skip skip skip to the next sign!”) to encourage kids to be active.
Let’s Move in Libraries has lots of additional information and resources to consider.
For any additional questions about GPLS’ process, please email Deborah Hakes.
More Story Stroll resources
Sara Hightower Regional Library System has shared resources for how they create their permanent Story Stroll displays:
Let’s Move in Libraries StoryWalk® resources and information.
Resources for making your Story Stroll accessible
How to Record Yourself Reading a Book on Your iPhone
Best Free Audio Recording Software for Windows 11
Picture books for blind kids? YES!
The Great Expectations program was created to help parents and teachers bring picture books to life for blind children. Each book is chosen for its unique theme and is supplemented with picture descriptions and free online activities to further explore concepts found within the stories. The online activities are created especially for blind children and use a multi-sensory approach — through song, tactile play, body movement, engaged listening, and word play — all designed to promote active reading experiences for children with visual impairments.
Parents and teachers will learn how to describe a picture in a book; how to explore a book’s visual concepts; how to have fun telling “the whole story;” and how to use play to gain a deeper understanding of a story’s meaning. Children will learn how to listen carefully to words, feelings (voice), actions, scene, plot, and character development — elements that they would otherwise miss by not seeing the pictures.
GPLS Livestream Tech Kits