Storywalk created in Tawawa Park

SIIDNEY — Shelby County Libraries and the city of Sidney Parks and Recreation Department have partnered to bring something new and exciting for families of all generations to enjoy in Tawawa Park. Shelby County Libraries was given money through the CARES Act to create and supply programming for their patrons during the pandemic while also encouraging social distancing.

“In the past we have created story trails with yard signs at various locations in our community which proved successful among visitors while promoting social distancing,” said April Orsborne, Youth Services coordinator at Shelby County Libraries.

Using an idea that was trademarked by Anne Ferguson, a librarian in Vermont, Shelby County Libraries decided to use CARES Act money towards installing a Storywalk.

For anyone unfamiliar with Storywalks, Storywalks were created to provide a fun, educational activity that places a children’s storybook along a popular walking route in the community, as well as to provide an opportunity for people of all ages to combine physical activity with books and to help build children’s interest in reading while encouraging healthy activity.

“Our community has always supported our libraries, even during the pandemic when it was difficult to have normal programming. We are so thankful and thrilled to provide this opportunity for our community. Our Youth services staff really pulled together to make this happen,” said Suzanne Cline, executive director of Shelby County Libraries

The new Storywalk is located in Tawawa Park along the walking path near the Geib Pavilion. The Storywalk is fully installed and ready to be enjoyed by the community. The current book on display in Tawawa Park is “Lola at the Library” written by Anna McQuinn. Stories will be swapped out seasonally by library staff.

A second Storywalk is set to be installed at Renner’s Sanctuary located on Hardin-Wapak Road off of state Route 47 in late October. The second Storywalk is a partnership with the Shelby County Parks and Recreation Board and Shelby County Libraries.

Potential groups or businesses who would like to sponsor a story display should contact Orsborne at 937-492-8354, ext. 103

The project was organized by Duane Gaier, director of Parks and Recreation, the city of Sidney Parks and Recreation board members as well as city parks employees, Shelby County Library board members, Spring Creek Concrete, Matt and Cindy Timmerman, Andy Shaffer, and April Orsborne, Youth Services Outreach coordinator at Shelby County Libraries.