‘Finding Christmas’ story walk set to begin


JASPER — Curling up with a good book on a cold day is great, but the Jasper Public Library has crafted another way for local families to get in a good read.

Photo provided
Jasper Public Library employees will soon scatter pages from the children’s book “Finding Christmas” in the storefronts of 17 downtown businesses.

Library employees will soon scatter pages from the children’s book, “Finding Christmas,” by Lezlie Evans, in the storefronts of 17 downtown businesses. Instead of staying in, the story walk encourages kids and adults alike to hit the Square and embark on a short journey while scanning through the pages of the winter-themed picture book.

“There’s all kind of literacy elements involved in the story walk that kind of promote literacy from the earliest child on,” said Lisa McWilliams, a youth service librarian who organized the display. “That’s really the concept of it, and then you’re getting the element of exercise with it as well. And then with it being downtown, you’re getting the element of shopping as well.”

After completing the walk, families can head to the library for Jelly Belly jelly beans donated by nearby Chocolate Bliss & Kitchen Essentials. Participants will also have the chance to enter their names into a drawing to win a free copy of “Finding Christmas.”

The story walk path begins at Siebert’s and snakes around to the Jasper City Hall. In October, the local library partnered with the Greater Downtown Jasper Business Association to put on a story walk for the book, “Leaf Trouble,” by Jonathan Emmett. It debuted in conjunction with the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs’ Downtown Development Week celebration and marked the first time the two local entities had collaborated.

McWilliams and fellow youth service librarian Christine Howard spearheaded the story walk project. Near the end of the fall story walk in late-October, McWilliams said the experience had been a positive one and businesses were welcoming and excited about the idea. The library previously posted a similar, garden-themed walk on the Jasper Riverwalk for a few days in the summer of 2016.

“It has been a very rewarding experience for me because I just think, of course, we’re here to provide literacy in children of all ages,” McWilliams said. “And if we can involve all family members with the element of walking, it’s just an extra bonus for us.”

She added that it’s nice to know people in the community took advantage of the story walk. The library received positive feedback from the community on the fall story trail snaking through and around the square.

The Christmas-themed story walk will go up in the windows of downtown businesses on the morning of Friday, Nov. 30, and will remain up through the end of the holiday season.

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