20+ years for Stories in the Park

Nancy Park Last week brought to a close a lot of our annual summer reading activities at Iowa City Public Library. One summer program that has been  a favorite for the Children's Department for many years is Stories in the Park.

Our Wednesday morning Stories in the Park at Willow Creek Park started as a unique kind of outreach program provided by ICPL in cooperation with scheduled playground activities provided by the Iowa City Parks and Recreation Division. I'm not exactly sure what year that was, but I'm certain I have been involved for at least 20 years -- maybe more. A few years after starting the Wednesday storytimes, we added a Friday storytime at Mercer Park.

The eight weeks of this summer program go by quickly. The weather isn't always cooperative. Every year is different. This summer we only had to cancel one Wednesday and one Friday storytime for bad weather. The other seven weeks were well attended with totals of 455 people coming to Willow Creek Park and 330 attending the Mercer Park programs.

It's rewarding for staff to have a chance to get outside and share Library resources with people who might not come to the Library. A few years ago we started taking some books with us so that people with Library Cards had the opportunity to check out items at the storytime if they wanted.  It is so exciting that we will be able to expand on this service next year when we have our new bookmobile for Stories in the Park.

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