July 8, 2014. The Appalachian Regional Library has been awarded a $41,000 grant to be used for a project called Story Walks, Story Books, Story Readers that will serve children ages four through eight and their families in Watauga, Wilkes and Ashe Counties. LSTA funds awarded by the State Library of North Carolina are made possible through funding from the Federal Institute of Museum and Library Sciences (IMLS) under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act as administered by the State Library of North Carolina, a division of the Department of Cultural Resources.
In the three counties served by the Appalachian Regional Library, the LSTA grant will fund Story Walks throughout the region providing self-directed and fun reading opportunities for young children and their caregivers outside locals away from the library. Library director Jane Blackburn explains:
“We take the books apart and post the pages along a path, and then at the end of the Story Walk invite the child’s family to visit the library to check out a copy of the book or to attend a special story time.”
Locations for the Story Walks in Watauga County will include Blowing Rock Park, Memorial Park and the Boone Tot Lot. Children’s picture books, easy readers for beginning readers and non-fiction books for young readers will be included in the array of books featured in the Story Walks. Story Walks will be up by September and will be changed monthly.
Children who come into the library as a result of the Story Walk will be invited to get a library card if they don’t have one and will be invited to a special story time which will provide a chance to win a copy of that month’s Story Walk book.
Additionally, LSTA funds will purchase Kindle Fires loaded with children’s e-books. the Kindles will be available for check out first to families who participate in at least one Story Walk, and then to anyone with a library card.
The libraries of the Appalachian Regional Library received one of the 52 competitive LSTA Grants for fiscal year 2014-15 awarded to North Carolina libraries. The LSTA grant program administered by the State Library of North Carolina funds library projects across the state that advance literacy and lifelong learning, expand access to library resources and expertise, promote partnerships and collaboration and digitize materials important to the cultural heritage of North Carolina.
The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 122,000 libraries and 17,500 museums. The Institute’s mission is to create strong libraries and museums that connect people to information and ideas. Through the LSTA Grants to State sprogram IMLS provides funds to State Library agencies using a population-based formula. State libraries may use the appropriation to support statewide initiatives and services; they may also distribute the funds through competitive sub-grants to public, academic, school, special and research libraries. To learn more about the institute, please visit www.imls.gov.