children participating in storytime activities

Young readers enjoying StoryWalk® activities at Sequoyah Regional Library System.

More Georgia public libraries are creating temporary or permanent StoryWalks® in their communities to provide meaningful activities for patrons, despite the barriers to in-person library programming due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

A StoryWalk® is an outdoor experience for families where a children’s book is placed, page by page, along a walking trail. As you walk the path, you are directed to the next page in the story. The StoryWalk® concept was created by Anne Ferguson and developed with the help of Rachel Senechal, Kellogg-Hubbard Library.

StoryWalks® encourage reading and outdoor activity in an interactive format. They help parents, caregivers, and communities create quality engagement opportunities when out on a stroll.

“Besides getting patrons up and moving, the hope is that this program will attract the attention of people who use the walking paths but may not know what the library has to offer,” said Deborah Feanny, branch manager at Mountain View Regional Library. Mountain View is a part of the Cobb County Public Library System.

The Conyers-Rockdale (Nancy Guinn) Library updates the story in their StoryWalk® every two weeks, to keep programming interesting for returning patrons. Other libraries, such as the Live Oak Public Libraries, take their StoryWalk® on the go.

“We had our StoryWalk® as a family-friendly activity at the Great Georgia Pollinator Census and Plant Sale event, as well as at the Islands Farmers’ Market,” said Maryann Brickey, senior community library manager with Live Oak Public Libraries. “We plan to continue to use it at other community events.”

The Marshes of Glynn Libraries partnered with a local elementary school to create a StoryWalk®. If they can find interest with more school media specialists, they hope to create one for all Glynn County elementary schools in order to expand their outreach to children despite COVID-19 limitations.

The Chattooga County branch of the Sara Hightower Regional Library System offers a permanent story walk located at Sloppy Floyd State Park in Summerville, Georgia. The books for this story walk are changed every two months. The Chattooga County branch also offers a portable story walk that can be installed in surrounding parks throughout the year.

According to research done by Dr. Noah Lenstra of Let’s Move in Libraries, public library StoryWalk® programming has increased exponentially since the COVID-19 pandemic began. They have started taking new forms, such as pages posted in downtown business windows, in addition to the more traditional route of posting pages along walking paths in parks or along greenways.

Check out the list of StoryWalks at Georgia public libraries below, or contact your local library, to learn more about a StoryWalk® near you.

  • A Mitchell Powell Jr Branch, Coweta Public Library System

  • Bartow (beginning mid November)

  • Chattooga County branch of the Sara Hightower Regional Library System
  • Chatsworth Library, Northwest Georgia Regional Library
  • Conyers-Rockdale (Nancy Guinn) Library
  • Cumming Library
  • Dawson County Library
  • DeKalb: One is at the Toco Hills-Avis G. Williams Library, One is in Glenlake Park in Decatur, One is at the Redan Recreation Center
  • Forsyth County Public Library
  • LaFayette-Walker County Library (beginning spring 2021)
  • Live Oak Public Libraries
  • Lumpkin County Library
  • Marshes of Glynn
  • Morgan County Library
  • Mountain View Regional Library  – on Tuesday, Nov. 17,  at 10 a.m. – with more StoryWalks in spring 2021.
  • North Cobb Regional Library program
  • Piedmont Regional Library System
  • Sequoyah Regional Library System (October 2020; more planned for early 2021)
  • Thomas County Public Library