WAXAHACHIE — The Nicholas P. Sims Library is launching a new program that pairs the fresh air of the outdoors with an intellectual tickle that all families can enjoy.

“It’s called a Story Walk, and it combines literacy and physical activity,” affirmed Nicole Matthews, the outreach and programming coordinator at the Sims Library.

“And what we’ll be doing is deconstructing some of our books, and putting them back together again on the boards of the trail. One by one, page by page, we’ll take a story walk at Getzendaner and Browns Singleton parks,” she explained.

In a hide-and-seek fashion, Matthews goes on to note that the pages will be spread throughout a walking trail of each park, where students and families can run, jump, skip, or cartwheel to the next page of the book.

“At Getzendaner it’s actually going to be around the playground area, and at Brown-Singleton, it’ll be among the trail,” Matthews detailed. “So basically we wanted to stick a story outside.”

“And at the end of every story, there will be an activity you can either do in the park or at home. So for the story we’re doing at Getzendaner, ‘We’re Going on a Leaf Hunt,’ we’ll have a scavenger hunt activity at the end of that one,” she explained.

What started as adopting an idea from Ann Ferguson, the originator of StoryWalks, later inspired Matthews to add Waxahachie to the international list.

“Tons of schools, parks, and other libraries are doing this because it's such a great idea,” Matthews recognized. “So we wanted to get it going here in town so that families, kids, and the community can enjoy it too.”

According to the Kellogg-Hubbard Library, StoryWalks have been installed in 50 states and 12 countries including, Germany, Canada, England, Bermuda, Russia, Malaysia, Pakistan and South Korea.

“This is our big celebration, and it will be like our story time at the library, and we’re not like most places because we get a little wild and crazy,” Matthews laughed about what's to be expected for Friday. “We dance, sing, jump up and down, so it’ll be that, but we’ll take our story on a walk and have our scavenger hunt at both parks.”

“We’ll also have healthy snacks available for everyone, so the kids can have fun, run around the park, have a snack, and then go home and take a nap. Parents will know what I mean by that last one,” she teased.

Teaming up with the Waxahachie Parks and Recreation Department, Matthews is confident that the Waxahachie Story Walk will soon turn into a family favorite.

“The Parks and Rec Department helped me out a ton,” Matthews thanked. “They’re the ones who actually created the signs, and they built these boards for the stories to go on and helped me place them around the parks – they’re just great.”

“And every month we’ll change out the story, so it’ll always be something new. And with the weather being so nice, and fall coming up, it’s perfect for parents to get their kids outside, playing, and most importantly – reading.”

Matthews also explained that the program is temporary for the next six months, and encourages those interested to let the library know if it should become a permanent fixture for the future.

“My hope is that it’ll be permanent and have more stories in more parks,” Matthews acknowledged. “So we need the community to let us know if they like it or not, and they can do that by coming to the library, or taking a picture and tagging the library on Facebook and Twitter.”

“That way, it lets us know that you read our story at the park and we’ll have an idea of how many people are reading it,” she included.

With its opening celebration scheduled for this Friday, Matthews invites the community to attend for a family activity that’s adding to the uniqueness of Waxahachie.

“We want families to have a good time together, and we hope this is a way that can bring them together for some fall fun,” Matthews encouraged. “I know I say it all the time, but I’m so excited about this, like all the other programs we have here, but this one is going to be a lot of fun for families.”

“We just hope at the end of the day that the community enjoys the activity and the story, and has a great time on their Story Walk,” she finished.

The Waxahachie Story Walk will host two celebrations this Friday, Sept. 29, with the first program starting at 10 a.m. at Getzendaner Park on 400 South Grand Avenue, and the second will be at 12 p.m. at Browns Singleton Park on Farley Street. To let the library know what you think of the new program, tag a picture or post on Facebook @SimsLibrary and Twitter @NPSimsLibrary. For more information, visit simslib.org or call (972)-937-2671.


Chelsea Groomer, @ChelseaGroomer