ELLSWORTH — Libraries may be closed but librarians believe that children should still have access to books. So, the Ellsworth Public Library is working to create a story walk.

“I saw a news story from a library in Rhinelander, Wisconsin that had set up a story walk using the windows of their main street businesses. And, I loved that idea,” said Caroline Herfindahl, the youth services and programming coordinator for the library.

Denise Chojnackt is the acting children's librarian for the Rhinelander District Library. She stated in a local blog post:

"My colleague... and I wanted to find another way to provide story times during Safer at Home, in addition to our weekly virtual story time. I contacted businesses to see if they would be interested in being part of a story stroll with an author who had ties to the community. This was a visible way that the library could show its presence, and it would be a fun collaboration."

The idea of a story walk is that a group of businesses display pages from a picture book in their window. Participants can walk from store to store to read the book.

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Herfindahl is excited about this project for a couple of reasons. First, she’s looking forward to creating something that does not involve screens.

“It’s so hard right now especially with school being online and all of those things, that we’re trying to come up with some ways to engage with people outside of computers,” said Herfindahl.

By creating a story walk, participants can social distance while still participating in the program.

Herfindahl also likes this program because it offers partnership opportunities. Currently she is collecting responses from local businesses to see who would be interested in hosting a page or two for the walk.

This project is in the beginning stages. Once Herfindahl receives information from local businesses, the library will decide which book to display. Currently Herfindahl is thinking about selecting a story about summer or one that is about a downtown community.

Depending on the number of businesses that show interest, the library may create two story walks: one along Main Street and another in the east end of Ellsworth.

“Even if they aren’t sure that they have the window space I hope people will say, ‘we’d really like to participate’ and maybe find a way that we could do that,” Herfindahl said.

For more information about the library’s programming, visit www.ellsworthlibrary.org.