KCPL is collaborating with multiple community partners to help build access to literacy development outside the library’s buildings. Community partnerships with local cities, parks departments, and even other non-profits have created both mobile and stationary access points in many places throughout the county. Two new library initiatives grew up during the mandated limiting of services in the summer of 2020, but they will be sticking around for continued use!

Through partnership with CuriousCityDPW, an organization that creates free “children’s book engagement tools;” the library has made two StoryWalks available to the community. Both StoryWalks feature the story Cat’s Colors by Airlie Anderson, published by Child’s Play. Each of the two sets of StoryWalk signs features the illustrations and text of the story with a two-page spread on each sign, plus simple instructions for ways to engage with the story and the surroundings. The real-estate type signs walk the viewer through the first half of the story on one side of the signs, then complete the story on the reverse sides, creating an out-and-back reading experience. The movable sign format allows for the StoryWalks to be used in settings with a variety of space and geography.

The gentle story follows Cat through her day as she finds and admires colors in her surroundings. Each new color adds something to her fur and to the reader’s surprise at the end of the story. Readers are invited to do things like look up at the clouds, look for certain colors, and listen for sounds around them as they walk from sign to sign. The StoryWalk files were created and made available through CuriousCityDPW, and the licensing allows them to be used for 5 years. During that time, KCPL intends to frequently move the StoryWalks to new locations for the community to engage with them. They have so far been located for two-to-four-week intervals at each of the following locations: Fox Run Park in Independence, Memorial Park in Independence, City Hall in Fort Wright, the Erlanger Railroad Depot Park, and at the Durr and Erlanger library branches.

Cat’s Colors StoryWalk in place at the Erlanger City Building

 

Cat’s Colors installed at Ft. Wright City Hall

 

The StoryWalks also have a free activity kit that goes with the story; which includes printable and interactive fun for kids and their adults. The activity kit can easily be obtained by visiting CuriousCityDPW, or by emailing jennifer.beach@kentonlibrary.org to request the link. The printable kit encourages fun with Cat and extends the opportunities to interact with the text and each other through the story. Look for the StoryWalks to move periodically to new locations throughout the county. Plans are being made for Cat’s Colors to pop up in multiple locations through the month of April, with a contest connected to them! Watch the library’s online calendar for information about current viewing locations and for contest information. If you know of a great location for a temporary installation for one of the StoryWalks, please email Jennifer to suggest it!

KCPL Little Free Library at The Carnegie in Covington

The second new community literacy collaboration is the Little Free Libraries, co-sponsored by KCPL and several community partners. Each Little Free Library is located in an easily-accessible public location. Books for kids, young adults, and adults are included; along with a variety of book formats and occasionally other media like magazines. The intention is for the Little Free Libraries to provide access to books in more locations, and to provide options when visiting the library branches may not be possible. The materials provided by KCPL are items that have been removed from the circulating collection, items that have been donated, and in some cases, new purchases. KCPL staff will be maintaining and re-stocking the Little Free Libraries as needed.

KCPL Little Free Library at Spring Valley Park, Erlanger

The Little Free Libraries were installed in late summer and fall, 2020, and initially stocked with a combination of new materials purchased from I’m Your Neighbor Books via a grant from Save the Children and materials from the Friends of the Library. It is our goal to offer a wide variety of materials, and for the community to also use the Little Free Libraries as a way to exchange personal books they no longer need. Little Free Libraries maintained by KCPL can be found at Barb Cook Park and The Carnegie in Covington; at Middleton-Mills Park in Taylor Mill; and at Rainbow Park and Spring Valley Park in Erlanger. These sites are in partnership with the City of Covington, The Carnegie, Kenton County Parks and Recreation, and the City of Erlanger, respectively. The addresses for all 5 KCPL Little Free Libraries can be found here, on the “locations” page of the library’s website.

Watch for info on upcoming programs and contests related to the Little Free Libraries, including a scavenger hunt which will take place March 6-12, 2021!

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