Tullahoma will have a new chapter to write with the new Story Book Trail opening today. In an effort to inspire youth to read and walk, a new type of trail marker will line the Rock Creek Greenway.
The Coffee County Lannom Memorial Public Library and Tullahoma Parks and Recreation department have partnered to find new ways to get children and families outside to participate in physical activity as well as to gain an interest in reading.
“We have partnered with the parks and rec department before, and it’s always nice to collaborate our ideas to influence our community,” said Leslie Warren, youth services librarian. “We’re always trying to find new things to get kids and their families to read.”
The trail will be a part of the Rock Creek Greenway that starts behind the library. It will consist of approximately 25 reading stations, podiums with glass fronts encasing a book.
Each station will reveal one page of the book. To complete the book, the whole trail must be walked. Approximately 25 reading stations will be spaced about 30 yards apart from each other. The stations will encase a story suitable for young readers.
This project was made possible by a grant with the intentions to promote two healthy activities while impacting the community.
A $5,000 grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation was awarded to UT Extension Agent Belinda Riddle who wanted to help make a difference in the community’s effort to get fit as well as increase literacy efforts.
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is an organization that strives to improve health in America. According to its website, the foundation is dedicated to building a culture of health that provides everyone in American with a fair opportunity to become healthy.
“This project was very multifaceted with the things we are trying to achieve,” said Riddle. “We are trying to provide a safe and accessible place for families to enjoy while being outside in the environment.”
Tullahoma was one of the first communities to receive the grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation with the intentions to create a place for literacy development, promote physical activity as well as contribute to the community.
The reading stations were installed by a workforce of volunteers that consisted of 4-H members, Boy Scouts, National Honor Society members, the library and the parks and recreation department. Books will be changed approximately every two weeks.
“The greenway is located behind the library, so we’re hoping that it will attract a new crowd of visitors,” Warren said. “We want to get kids and their families outside enjoying the environment. We wanted to provide a space that gets the community involved in being healthy, becoming more green and reading books.”
While the Story Book Trail is officially open today, there will be a ceremony and ribbon cutting for the trail on May 24.
In addition, the library is preparing for a month full of new opportunities for citizens of all ages. Classes, clubs and plays are on the agenda and open for anyone to experience.
At 2 p.m. on Valentine’s Day, the library will be hosting a play called “Love Letters,” about two people who grew up together but ultimately ended up going their separate ways. Throughout the years the two corresponded with letters and developed a relationship. The letters reveal the story of love, friendship, turmoil and loss that spans 50 years.
“The actors in the play are seniors,” Warren said. “Anyone can watch the play, but we would like to encourage older people to come and make a date of it. We set it a little later in the afternoon so that hopefully some adults can make it as well. It’s a free Valentine’s date.”
The library will also host two new events for teens starting this month.
On Feb. 19, the library will host a murder mystery game for teens aged 13-17. The game will be set up much like the movie and board game “Clue” and will require sharp thinking skills to solve the mystery. The teens will use the Dewey Decimal System to discover clues about the crime. They will also have to interview library staff members to narrow their list of suspects down. Then the teens will collaborate to see if they can solve the crime.
In addition, the library will be putting together a teen book club. This will be a club for teens to interact with others who share a passion for reading. The club will meet from 5 to 6 p.m. on Feb. 26 to discuss the theme of the month – fantasy.
“This is the first time we’ve offered a book club for our teens,” Warren said. “This will be a place where they can get together and read different genres. They are able to come together and talk about the books they are reading. They discuss their likes, dislikes and can recommend books to their peers.”
The library has several events offered for all age groups every month. For more information on classes, clubs or events, visit Coffee County Lannom Memorial Public Library on Facebook.
For more information on Tullahoma Parks and Recreation department, visit www.tullahomatn.gov/recreation.
Faith Few can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.