The Vermillion community continues to come together in many ways to create special events for the residents that build connections and create fun.
The Vermillion Public Library put together an event called StoryWalks where anyone can walk outside and read a book through downtown Vermillion. They use picture books so people can read a story from start to finish. Daniel Burniston, the library director, said StoryWalks was intended to create community, especially in times of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“At that time, it was during the COVID-19 pandemic and we were very limited in what we could do in the way of in-person or group activities,” Burniston said. “A story walk seemed like a great way to be able to safely engage and connect with community members during the pandemic.”
The library found this concept after hearing and seeing stories of other libraries across the country that had done them. They worked with the Park & Rec department in order to make the idea happen.
“We theme our StoryWalks to fit with our summer reading program, or often a particular day or month, such as Earth Day or Juneteenth,” Burniston said.
The StoryWalk events were originally held at Prentis Park. They had temporary story posts they could take down during the winter months. Since there was so much popularity with the event, Mike Phelan, the owner of Outside of a Dog Books & Games, contacted the library asking to get involved.
“They get families out to get a bit of exercise and share some great stories,” Phelan said. “We reached out to the library to see if we could help in any way.”
Through this partnership, they moved StoryWalks downtown so this event could continue throughout the winter months. Burniston said continuing this event is important for the community.
“The downtown StoryWalk version was a great chance for us to collaborate with the downtown business,” Burniston said. “We are able to encourage literacy while also encouraging people to walk around downtown and check out local businesses.”
The library plans on posting a new story sometime within the next month. They can see this event continuing long term, both at Prentis Park and downtown.
“StoryWalks are designed as a way for children and adults to enjoy reading while also getting outside and walking at the same time,” Burniston said. “They are a wonderful opportunity for literacy and recreation to come together.”