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USM’s School of Library & Information Science Brings Back StoryWalk® to Downtown Hattiesburg’s Pocket Museum May 14

Tue, 05/10/2022 - 11:06am | By: David Tisdale

Storywalk at the Pocket MuseumExercising body and mind through the joy of reading and a walk in historic downtown Hattiesburg will be the centerpieces of the return of the StoryWalk®, a unique concept combining physical activity and literacy, coming Saturday, May 14 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the Hattiesburg Pocket Museum, located in the alleyway next to Saenger Theater. This event is free and open to the public. 

StoryWalk® transforms the pages of a book into signs laid out on a trail inviting families, children, caregivers, teachers and others to follow the path of pages. Created by Anne Ferguson of Montpelier, Vermont, the now internationally popular StoryWalk® Project was developed in collaboration with the Vermont Bicycle & Pedestrian Coalition and the Kellogg Hubbard Library; it has taken place in all 50 states and beyond, including in Germany, Canada, England, Bermuda, Russia, Malaysia, Pakistan and South Korea where projects have been installed. Many of these installations are permanent or semi-permanent.

The featured book for Hattiesburg’s StoryWalk® will be In the Tall, Tall Grass by author-illustrator Denise Fleming, an award-winning book with bold colors that celebrates the joys of nature through the eyes of a child and caterpillar. Stacy Creel, an associate professor in The University of Southern Mississippi’s (USM) School of Library and Information Science (SLIS), spearheaded the first story StoryWalk® with community collaboration and is excited to host the second.

“My family thinks the Hattiesburg attractions like the Hattiesburg Public Library, the Hattiesburg Zoo, and the Hattiesburg Pocket Museum are some of the best things going in the state,” Creel said. “As the School of Library and Information Science, we place a high value on the love of reading and community involvement. Last year we had a great time at the StoryWalk® interacting with the community and promoting reading - all of the best things.”

Returning to the project as community partners for the StoryWalk® are the USM Fay B. Kaigler Children’s Book Festival, the Library of Hattiesburg Petal and Forrest County, and Hattiesburg Council on Community Literacy and Reading.

“The Hattiesburg Pocket Museum is about discovery and curiosity,” said Rick Taylor, executive director of the Hattiesburg Convention Commission, which created and oversees the operation of the Hattiesburg Pocket Museum. “What better way to continue our connection with kids of all ages than to focus on the powerful impact of reading to build a lifetime of curiosity and desire for discovery.”

The May 14th production of StoryWalk® will feature the oversized book, suggestions for physical activities, and the text translated into Spanish.

The first 200 children arriving for the Hattiesburg StoryWalk® will be eligible to receive a free, brand-new book for their reading pleasure from the Hattiesburg Council on Community Literacy and Reading, and participants will receive information about the Summer Reading Program at the Library of Hattiesburg Petal and Forrest County. 

“We hope kids and their families leave from StoryWalk® excited about books and sign up for the Summer Reading Program at public libraries in their communities, as well as enjoying the creative environment of the Hattiesburg Pocket Museum,” Creel said.

Pre-registration is also available for the Hattiesburg Public Library’s Summer Reading Program, titled “Oceans of Possibilities!”  Regular registration starts June 1.  The Hattiesburg Public Library will also have a “fin-tastic” craft for children to make, and the StoryWalk event will have information available on all the library’s programs for the summer.

For more information about StoryWalk® at the Hattiesburg Pocket Museum, contact Creel at Stacy.CreelFREEMississippi or 601.266.5704.