Officials from the Peoria Public Library and the Rotary Club of Peoria believe a new feature at the library’s Lincoln branch serves as a testament to a shared commitment to literacy.
A new outdoor StoryWalk leading to the building’s entrance will make a difference for thousands of children in the area, according to Peoria Public Library Executive Director Randall Yelverton.
“It will become an extension of the library – a place where, like our other StoryWalks, we can host strolling story time, picnics and outdoor crafts,” Yelverton said Friday during a ribbon-cutting ceremony.
“It will be an attention grabber, and it will remind those of all ages the pleasure of reading a beautiful illustrated storybook.”
The outdoor attraction has already caught the eye of some residents from the area.
“I’ve already had some neighbors come out, and they’re wondering ‘what is this?’ and I say, ‘it’s a StoryWalk,’” said Cynthia Smith, Lincoln branch manager. “So, it’s another way of sharing the story with the child. We’re excited about it and the neighborhood is excited about it.”
Current Rotary Club President Brad Stegall and past president Maggie Freidag joined Yelverton, Smith and others at the ceremony.
“The theme of Rotary is service above self, and one of those ways that we serve the community is through literacy. This is a perfect example of that,” said Stegall.
Freidag said the feature will be especially beneficial for students from Trewyn Middle School.
“Being able to partner with the Peoria Public Library and install this storybook walk really is a great fit for our club, and also the library,” said Freidag. “We look forward to bringing our Trewyn kids here that we read with and share that with them. I know I look forward to bringing my children here and sharing the stories.”
Freidag said the StoryWalk at the Lincoln branch had been planned for a little more than a year but was delayed by circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic.
“So being here today and seeing it all finished is really, really wonderful,” she said.
Yelverton said accepting the donation to the library made him gracious, while also making him proud to be a Rotarian. He touted the StoryWalk for its accessibility and noted it is free for everyone to enjoy.
“Rotary has a strong commitment to education and to literacy, and that really dovetails well with the library’s ongoing mission,” he said. “It’s been a great partnership, and we're glad it was able to reach some fruition with this installation.”
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