We launched a big addition to our library collection last month: eleven podiums that make up our new Trail Tales! Trail Tales is based on StoryWalk®. This project was long in the planning. My colleague had tried to find funding to create a literacy/walking experience at the outset of the pandemic, but was unable to secure a source for us. However, we didn’t give up our dream of a StoryWalk® of some sort! We kept our eyes open for potential partners.
Then last spring, at the end of a meeting with our Arts and Events department about Summer Reading 2021, I threw the idea out there once more, and this time, we found a funder! We were so excited! Our Arts and Events team ordered the podiums for us, and recommended a great city park that had a perfect path! Our city’s Parks team installed the podiums when they arrived and they were GORGEOUS! We decided that the first story to be featured in our Trail Tales would be one written by our city’s Communications team featuring the city’s mascot, Sammy Clarita. We ordered mats that were made of a plastic material so that we will be able to stick and unstick pages easily.
Once our podiums and story were installed, it was time for a party! The Sammy Clarita story that we chose featured many of our city’s departments, so we were able to ask those folks to come and celebrate with us. Our Youth Sports division brought out games that were part of a Pop Up and Play grant that they received during the pandemic. Our Environmental Services brought their Enviroscape® which demonstrates water run-off and pollution using unsweetened Kool-Aid and cocoa powder. It’s wildly fun messy play! Our Graffiti team let the kids draw on the sidewalk with chalk and then let them help power wash it off.
We hosted a beautiful storytime at the end of our Trail Tales trail under a giant California Oak. The setting was just magical. We canceled all the other storytimes for the day at our branches to encourage the community to join us off-site. We had a terrific turn-out of over two hundred people.
We’ll change out our Trail Tales story once a quarter. We’re really looking forward to adding additional podiums so that we can select longer books next year! We will launch each new book with Storytime under the Oak.
We could not have created Trail Tales without the help of other city departments. I will never underestimate the power of collaboration! Team work really is dream work!