Guest Blogger

Developing a Family Hiking Program

Right before I attended ALA11 this year as a vendor, new childhood obesity statistics were reported.  According to Medic On Web, “The obesity rates for children between the age of 2 to 5 years and adolescents between 12 to 19 years has doubled in the last three decades.”  The solutions to this epidemic included not only diet modifications, but also increased activity levels.

At ALA11 I displayed some hiking books from our FalconGuides line, which are outdoor guides that give hiking, biking, rock climbing, and kayaking information, along with these statistics.  Due to the wonderful response from librarians and teachers, I decided to write a very basic FalconGuides hiking program libraries could offer to patrons or students.

I visited the Fairfield Woods Library in Fairfield, Connecticut and spoke with Nancy Coriaty, Deputy Town Librarian.  She told me that Fairfield Woods Library is branding itself with sustainable, whole, green, and healthy programs.  They have even begun circulating seeds to their patrons so the patrons can grow their own food and then return the seeds when the plants go to seed.  Nancy thought a hiking program would fit right in with their community goals and subsequently chose a hike from our Best Easy Day Hikes series that begins and ends at the Fairfield Audubon Center.

I wrote a basic power point including a hike, a map, written directions, and a written guided-tour from several of our books.  Next I chose some bird photos, flower and tree photos, and a few animal tracks and scats.  Finally, I ended with hiking tips and some trail snack recipes. As this library does not sell books, Nancy suggested that retail venues where the books can be purchased be incorporated, including independent retailers.  The hike, which will take place in October, will be announced in the town newsletter and Library Program Guide.

I would love to have some feedback from other librarians.  What would make a good outdoor program for your library?  The Audubon hike was an easy hike only 1 hour from start to finish and a good hike for school-age children and up.  Would your library want to offer something more difficult?  Is emailing the PDF to libraries sufficient?  I was only able to use the materials in Globe Pequot Press books, so some nature reference was missing from the information given.  However, I suggested that one might take along a nature journal and collect items, draw, or take pictures of what is seen along the trail and research them at the library.  Is this a good solution?  Is there another?

Librarians who would like to see the power point and provide feedback or help to create a hike for their own library can contact me at


Our guest blogger today is Cynthia Robbins, Library Specialist and National Accounts at Globe Pequot.  Cynthia can be contacted at

If you’d like to write a guest post for the ALSC Blog, please contact Mary Voors, ALSC Blog manager, at

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