Wilson Public Library Installs Permanent StoryWalk

In November 2021, Cozad’s Wilson Public Library was awarded a Nebraska Library Commission Library Improvement Grant for a permanent StoryWalk at Muny Park. This project is supported in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act as administered by the Nebraska Library Commission.

A StoryWalk is a movement and literacy boosting project that places an illustrated children’s book, taken apart and displayed page by page, along a community walking route. Twenty StoryWalk posts were installed by the Cozad Street Department around the walking track at the park in mid-April and the Cozad Library Foundation provided additional funds beyond the grant.

“During COVID, StoryWalks were a way for us to encourage literacy while the library was closed, and we did them around the library, downtown, and at several city parks. Once we re-opened, we continued with them because our patrons, especially families, told us how much they enjoyed spending time together outside reading the stories. With the Library Improvement Grant, we now have a permanent solution—Mother Nature tended to destroy the laminated stories after a week,” said Library Director Laurie Yocom. “Our plan is to have monthly StoryWalks around the park, not limited to children’s picture books, and we will partner with other businesses and organizations who might want to provide information to our town in a unique way.”

“For example, in November, we want to put up biographies of Cozad veterans. Maybe in September we could do a StoryWalk about the history of our community’s Hay Days event. We’d like to have something different up every month with a potential follow-up program at the library,” said Yocom.

The library is asking the public to help reach a monthly goal of at least 50 participants by filling out brief surveys via QR codes located on the last page of each StoryWalk. “I think our attendance goals will be easily met in the summer, as you have families coming in for swim team events and baseball games, and even in the fall with youth league football. The harder times will be when the weather is cold,” continued Yocom. Ultimately, the StoryWalks are aimed at bringing people back to the library. “If you enjoy the stories, know that there’s a lot more at the library.

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