Thanks to Caldwell County Smart Start, the Caldwell County Public Library, Boy Scout Troop 263, and the City of Lenoir, there's a new StoryWalk located at Mulberry Recreation Center.
Caldwell County Smart Start spearheaded and funded the StoryWalk project. City of Lenoir Parks & Recreation provided the space for the exhibits at Mulberry Recreation Center. Boy Scout Troop 263 installed the exhibits, and Caldwell County Public Library staff agreed to maintain and rotate the books in the StoryWalk.
A StoryWalk is a series of outdoor exhibits that contain pages from a picture book. The exhibits can also give activity suggestions to compliment the story as well as tips to improve reading and comprehension. StoryWalks can be located at parks, on greenway trails, schools, or neighborhoods.
"We’d like to thank a few of the partners that are here today," said Jeff Link, Chairman of the Smart Start Board of Directors. "Thank you to the Smart Start board and staff (Executive Director Hannah Romero) for providing the exhibits, to Phil Harper with City of Lenoir Parks & Recreation for providing a space for our story walk, to Ashlin Edmisten and her team for creating the inserts for the exhibits, and probably the most important group is Boy Scout Group 263, they installed all the exhibits."
The StoryWalk exhibit is located around the playground at Mulberry Recreation Center.
The exhibits contain pages from a picture book as well as activity prompts and literacy tips.
The stories will be changed every four to six weeks.
City of Lenoir Parks & Recreation Director Phil Harper said he was excited to have the StoryWalk at Mulberry Recreation Center.
"I think this is awesome, and I really appreciate the collaboration with all the partners," Director Harper said. "We’re all in this for the youth. This is a good day and a good addition to Mulberry Recreation Center and Lenoir."
The StoryWalk includes 21 exhibits placed around the playground area at Mulberry Recreation Center. Library staff plan to change the books in the exhibits every four to six weeks. The current story is "Coat of Many Colors" by Dolly Parton. There is also a StoryWalk at Redwood Park in Hudson.
Smart Start Program Specialist Wendy Smith spearheaded the StoryWalk project. She said the love of learning and literacy inspired her to organize a StoryWalk for Lenoir.
"Our mission is for all children to enter school healthy and successful," Smith said. "One of our goals is to implement literacy and get kids learning as soon as they can, and this is a fun way to learn."
Another way to get kids learning and reading early is to sign them up for Dolly Parton's Imagination Library. The Imagination Library is a book gifting program for children from birth to age five. Once registered, kids receive a free book every month. The mission of the program is to foster a love of reading in preschool children. And ensure that every child born has books, regardless of their family’s income. Click the following link to sign up, imaginationlibrary.com/usa/affiliate/NCPCCALDWELL/.
Click the following links for more information about the StoryWalk partners:
Members of Caldwell County Smart Start, Caldwell County Public Library, Boy Scout Troop 236, and the City of Lenoir cut a ribbon Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2023, to officially open the StoryWalk at Mulberry Recreation Center.
Caldwell County Smart Start and Caldwell County Public Library staff.
Phil Harper, left, talks with Mayor Joe Gibbons, second from left, and other attendees.
About Mulberry Recreation Center
Mulberry Recreation Center is located at 720 Mulberry Street SW in Lenoir. The center offers yearly athletic programs for youth and adults as well as many recreation amenities including:
- Baseball / Softball Fields (3, lighted)
- Basketball Courts (indoor, outdoor)
- Game Room, Kitchen
- Pickleball Courts (3 indoor, 4 outdoor)
- Picnic Shelters & Tables
- Skate Park
- Tee-Ball Fields (2)
- Tennis Courts (6, lighted)
Click the following link for more information and to check the center hours, Mulberry Recreation Center. For more information about City parks and annual athletic programs, click Parks & Recreation.