Reading typically is a solitary, sedentary endeavor -- but it doesn't have to be.
A joint project of the Grandview Heights Public Library and the Grandview Parks and Recreation Department makes it easy to combine reading with physical activity.
The StoryWalk opened May 9 at C. Ray Buck Park, 1280 Goodale Blvd.
The path around the park includes signs with the text and illustrations from a children's picture book.
"The idea is to promote literacy with physical activity," said Eileen McNeil, the library's director of patron services.
"Even though we're choosing to feature children's picture and nonfiction books, it's really an intergenerational activity," she said. "We're encouraging parents and grandparents to engage in the reading with their young ones as they go around the path."
From the feedback she's received and what she has observed, many adults are enjoying reading the books as they walk around the path, she said.
The path has 18 signposts, McNeil said. Sixteen of them feature the text and pictures from a book that, during the warm-weather months, will change every few weeks, she said.
"One of the posts has information about the StoryWalk itself, and we're reserving another post to highlight information about upcoming library and parks and recreation happenings," she said.
The first book chosen for the StoryWalk was "Bear Came Along," written by Richard T. Morris and illustrated by LeUyen Pham.
"It's just a nice springtime book and it's a Caldecott Honor Book," McNeil said.
The StoryWalk project is funded by the library foundation and the Northwest Kiwanis, she said.
The pedestal sign stands were purchased through Barking Dog Exhibits, and Hickman Lawn Care installed them, McNeil said.
Ready for summer
While the StoryWalk provides a natural setting for reading, the library's summer reading club will be a virtual program this year due to the uncertainty of when the library building will open again to the public.
The library has been closed since mid-March due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, though it began allowing patrons to pick up reserved materials May 19.
The summer reading club will begin June 1 and continue through Aug. 1, McNeil said. Youngsters will be able to sign up for the program and download the club's app beginning June 1 at ghpl.org, she said.
"Even though we won't be having activities in the library, you will still be able to earn prizes by reaching your summer reading goals," McNeil said. "You accumulate points as you meet your reading goals or participate in programs and complete weekly challenges."
Every youngster who earns 1,000 points will be entered into a drawing for prizes that will include Clay Cafe mugs and coloring time, passes to Grandview Theater & Drafthouse and Scene75 Columbus, and Lego sets. Grandview and Marble Cliff residents also will be eligible for a free ride in a police car or fire truck.
Anyone earning 500 points will be able to win coupons to area restaurants and businesses. Virtual reading clubs also will be offered for teens and adults, with chances to earn prizes, McNeil said.
"I'd estimate we had about 700 kids participate in the summer reading club activities last year," she said. "It's always so popular. We're sorry we can't have our usual activities, but we're continuing to look for ways we can offer programs and services for people."
Anyone who does not have access to a computer or other device through which to download the summer reading club app may call the library at 614-486-2954 to make arrangements to receive a paper form they can use to track their reading progress over the summer, McNeil said.
Meanwhile, at the library, the first day of curbside pickup May 19 was "unbelievably busy," McNeil said. "It was much busier than we expected."
Eighty-four people drove in to pick up about 500 reserved items, she said.
After getting notice that the items they have reserved are in, patrons may drive to the library, park in a designated area and call library staff using the phone number posted on a sign. They are asked to stay in their cars, wear a mask if possible and pop open their vehicle's trunks. A library staff member will bring their requested materials out and place them in the trunk.
"We have bins on rollers that people can place their returned items in," McNeil said. "When a bin gets full, we'll roll them into the library, where the items will sit in quarantine for three days before we process them in."
Each bin holds about 100 items, depending on the size of the items that are being returned, she said.
"We probably brought in 10 filled bins of items on the first day alone, so you're probably talking about 1,000 items at least," McNeil said. "It's going to take a lot of time to process them all in."
Library staff working in the building are divided into three teams to ensure proper social distancing, she said.
Those staff members who are not able to work in the building because of the limits are working out of their homes, McNeil said.