A podium marks the beginning of a StoryWalk at Soldotna Creek Park on Tuesday, June 29, 2021 in Soldotna, Alaska. The project was discontinued in August due to vandalism. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

A podium marks the beginning of a StoryWalk at Soldotna Creek Park on Tuesday, June 29, 2021 in Soldotna, Alaska. The project was discontinued in August due to vandalism. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

StoryWalk vandalism results in project’s early end

The StoryWalk was made possible by a $2,500 donation from the Soldotna Library Friends.

Soldotna Public Library last month discontinued its StoryWalk program in Soldotna Creek Park after the podiums used in the display were vandalized, Youth Services Librarian Leslie Meyer said.

The StoryWalk idea originated with Anne Ferguson of Montpelier, Vermont, who developed the concept in collaboration with the Vermont Bicycle & Pedestrian Coalition and the Kellogg Hubbard Library. Podiums with children’s books are placed along walking and hiking trails to encourage outdoor recreation and literacy.

Because of copyright laws, libraries who implement such programs must display the actual dismembered pages of the book, as opposed to making photocopies.

Meyer said a patron alerted the library of the vandalism in Soldotna Creek Park. When library staff went to inspect the damage, they found some of the poles had been taken out of the ground and the podium plexiglass broken.

This is the first year they have participated in the program, Meyer said. The StoryWalk was made possible by a $2,500 donation from the Soldotna Library Friends this summer.

For next summer when they try the program again, Meyer said, the staff is brainstorming other security measures.

“We’ll do some reinforcement, and maybe even some trail cams,” she said.

Overall, Meyer said the library received a lot of positive feedback from community members who enjoyed the StoryWalk while it was in the park.

“We think it made a difference in the community and we’re excited to try it again,” she said.

The library filed a police report and the investigation is ongoing.

Reach reporter Camille Botello at camille.botello@peninsulaclarion.com.

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