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A Story As You Stroll Through Rotary Park

September 4, 2018 GMT

WILMINGTON -- Those who visit Rotary Park will have access to a story as they stroll around the pond this fall.

The Wilmington Memorial Library is launching the town’s own StoryWalk, where children’s books will be deconstructed, with the pages laminated and attached to fiberglass poles at the park located on Adelaide Street. The farther you walk around the pond, the further you get into the story.

“It’s great because it combines our mission of literacy and family engagement, which is one of our goals, with physical activity,” said Barbara Raab, the library’s youth services librarian. “It’s kind of a win-win-win.”

The StoryWalk Project was created by Anne Ferguson of Montpelier, Vermont, in 2007 and was developed in collaboration with the Kellogg-Hubbard Library. Since then, StoryWalks have popped up in communities across the country.

Wilmington’s program will be geared toward younger children, primarily those in pre-school and early elementary school.

Fittingly, the first book to be featured at Rotary Park will be “In the Small, Small Pond” by Denise Fleming.

About every three months, the featured book will be swapped out with a new one. There is also the potential to have programming aligned with the launch of each new book title at the park.

The Board of Selectmen recently approved the project unanimously.

“I’m really excited. It received enthusiastic support at the Board of Selectmen’s meeting and then it was subsequently posted on Facebook,” Raab said. “There seems to be a lot of community excitement and that makes us excited too.”

The project will be funded by the Friends of the Wilmington Memorial Library and maintained by the library. Three Girl Scouts have already expressed interest in helping to maintain the StoryWalk. Raab hopes to get other local youth organizations involved in the project maintenance as well.

“I sort of see this as kind of a pilot project and we’re not aiming for permanency right now,” Raab said. “So we’re going to try to get it in as secure as possible. We’re going to check it every so often and make sure it’s holding up. It may be that we come back at some point and want something a little more permanent.”

Town Manager Jeff Hull said Raab has helped to increase the number of programs and attendance at those programs at the library. She has also brought reading programs to Yentile Farm and Silver Lake in town.

“She’s always looking at new ways to approach reading and inspire and get interest of our young kids,” Hull said. “So, she’s very instrumental in all the library’s efforts.”

The first installation for the project may be completed as soon as the end of September, but Raab said an official launch date will be announced in the future.