by Maggie Lee
CABOT — Even before the pandemic set in over a year ago, the town of Cabot was looking at ways to better serve the young families in the town and how to draw more to the area. The Cabot Public Library, along with five additional local libraries, is doing its part to make safe spaces for young families by hosting several “storywalks” featuring different children’s books.
Storywalks combine spending time outdoors with reading. Pages from a book are laminated and placed along a walking trail so that hikers and walkers can read the story as they go.
Kathleen Hoyne, librarian of the Cabot Public Library, explained that storywalks are, “actually a national thing now. Libraries throughout the country do this.” The movement has its roots here in Vermont. The first storywalk was an initiative spearheaded by Anne Ferguson with the Kellogg-Hubbard Library in Montpelier. According to the Kellogg-Hubbard Library’s website, storywalks have been installed in 13 different countries, from Canada to Pakistan.
This is the first year that the Cabot Public Library will be hosting a storywalk. The walk will be up starting May 5 and will remain through May 19. Hoyne hopes that the location will draw visitors and build community pride. “It’s a nice feature of each of the areas because for Cabot, for instance, it’ll be located by the rec field, where there’s a little pavilion and a really nice play area, a field, the river runs behind the area, so it’s just a really beautiful outdoor area, that hopefully will attract people to go check it out.”
Hoyne hopes that this will be an opportunity for young families to gather safely after a year of isolation, “Families have been expressing their desire to get outside and do things with other families to try to reconnect outdoors in a safe way.” The library worked with one of their volunteers, a local art teacher, to select “The Tin Forest” by Helen Ward as the featured book.
Beth Wade, a trustee for the Cabot Public Library, explained via email the “co-op” aspect of the storywalks. “You can go from town to town to read the stories.” The five other towns involved are Barton, Craftsbury, Glover, Greensboro, and Hardwick. Each of the libraries collaborating will feature a different book. Hoyne expanded on this saying, “Each library has created a passport so families can come pick up a small, little booklet passport and they can get their booklet stamped at each of the libraries so they can hopefully visit as many as they can during this time period.”
The timing for the storywalk coincides with a time of tentative hope across the state as vaccination rates rise. Hoyne hopes that this will bring the community together in a way that everyone feels safe, but also connected, “Families can join within their own family or invite other families to join them. It’s a really nice outdoor family activity.”
More information on the storywalks for each town can be found by contacting a local library.