[Michlib-l] News we need from the Upper Penninsula

Noah Lenstra njlenstr at uncg.edu
Tue Dec 14 08:42:28 EST 2021

I often get asked how to start doing StoryWalk programming. Here's the

Bayliss Public Library part of this multi-sector effort to transform
outdoor time, literacy, and community engagement.

*Local organizations, city team up to bring permanent story walk*Taylor
The Sault News


SAULT STE. MARIE — The Power Canal Trail along West Portage to Ashmun
Street will soon see a permanent story walk, which organizers said is going
to benefit comprehension and reading for young children.

After the installation of the first phase of the Power Canal Trail, Beth
Rye, coordinator of the Eastern Upper Peninsula Intermediate School
District Great Start Collaborative, reached out to the city’s engineering
department with the idea of implementing a story walk. The Eastern Upper
Peninsula Intermediate School District Great Start Collaborative is a group
of parents of young children, members of the faith and business
communities, local philanthropic organizations, community leaders,
educators and leaders of the local public agencies that provide the
majority of early childhood services in the community. All members are
representatives of Chippewa, Luce, and Mackinac counties.

Rye presented what a story walk entailed during last week’s city commission

Beth Rye, coordinator of the Eastern Upper Peninsula Intermediate School
District Great Start Collaborative, presented the story walk project during
the Dec. 6 city commission meeting.

“We all know in an era where we’re all using too much technology and phone
and tablets, it’s very important to engage children in talking, reading and
singing,” said Rye during the presentation. “We would like to think that a
story walk like this along the Power Canal, which, when I first saw it, I
thought, it’s a perfect spot for this to engage families to have a book in
an outdoors activity and engage where they might not even realize they’re
reading a book.”

Funding from the Great Start Collaborative comes from several Department of
Education sources. The project includes 16 display board signs that encase
storybook pages, where families would walk the trail and read as they pass
by each station. The Great Start Collaborative proposed that the City of
Sault Ste. Marie approve the installation of aluminum post and frames for a
permanent story walk along the Phase 1 of the Power Canal pathway. The
Great Start Collaborative will purchase the post and frames, add the
interchangeable books and find a contractor to install posts in
pre-approved locations. It is not known at this time how often the books
would be changed out. Bayliss Public Library will also host family events
and promote the story walk along the Power Canal pathway.

The vendor that would supply the display board signs is Barking Dog
StoryWalk Solutions.

Kaylynn Cairns, family engagement specialist for the Great Start
Collaborative, teamed up with Rye to ask local citizens at the library
during story hour for their thoughts on the permanent story walk, to which
they received positive feedback.

“The reason why we think this is a really important, fun activity to bring
to our town is because the data shows, unfortunately, our third graders
were not … proficient in English-language arts (in 2021),” said Rye. “The
earlier we can start in developing either a love for reading (or) early
brain development, will help these statistics and help kids with the
ability to love reading early on.”

During the summer, a temporary mobile story walk was built, which rotated
between Chippewa, Luce and Mackinac counties. Rye said families and
children expressed interest in the story walk and expressed desire for more
outdoor activities such as this.

During the summer, a temporary mobile story walk was built, which rotated
between Chippewa, Luce and Mackinac counties.

“Even the kids that can’t read loved it,” Rye said.

The city commission considered a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with
Eastern Upper Peninsula Great Start Learning and Bayliss Public Library.

“The services being requested in the MOU under the city’s categories aren’t
anything outside of our normal routine maintenance so there’s no
extraordinary work that we would have to commit to this project,” said city
manager Brian Chapman during the meeting.

For the entire pathway project, the City of Sault Ste. Marie will be
responsible for the operation and maintenance of the completed trail. All
maintenance costs will be supported by the city's local streets and parks
operations budgets and are not likely impacted aside from increased traffic
on the trail.

“It would practically be insane to not support this. I mean, this is one of
the biggest no-brainers I’ve seen in 15 years here,” said commissioner Ray

The motion passed with unanimous support from the entire commission. The
memorandum of understanding shall be in force from installation in 2022 and
reviewed annually.

Rye is in the progress of a second grant to continue the story walk on
Phase II of the project from Ashmun to Johnston streets.

— Contact News Reporter Taylor Worsham at tworsham at sooeveningnews.com.

Noah Lenstra
Assistant Professor of Library and Information Science
University of North Carolina Greensboro
njlenstr at uncg.edu
Author, Healthy Living at the Library
Director of Let's Move in Libraries <http://letsmovelibraries.org/>
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