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The Boca Raton Public Library’s StoryWalk program was recently named the winner of the 13th annual Florida Municipal Achievement Award program’s City Spirit Award.
Providing Florida’s cities with an opportunity to receive recognition for innovative efforts, the City Spirit Award highlights a specific citywide effort that successfully addresses a local need.
The StoryWalk program, an initiative launched during the COVID-19 pandemic, instituted a creative way for children and adults to enjoy reading and the outdoors at the same time. The program incorporates children’s books along a popular outdoor walking route in the Pondhawk Natural Area, 1501 Spanish River Blvd.
“I could not be prouder of the Boca Raton Public Library and all of our city of Boca Raton departments and divisions, all of whom worked with such dedication to meet the increased needs of our residents during these unprecedented times,” Boca Raton Mayor Scott Singer said in a statement. “The StoryWalk has provided an engaging, educational outlet that many people in our community continue to enjoy.”
With laminated book pages placed in weather-resistant enclosures mounted to reading height posts along the route, individuals can read each book from start to finish as they walk each path.
Attracting thousands of participants, the growing popularity of the StoryWalk program prompted the Boca Raton Public Library to expand the initiative to Serenoa Glade Preserve — a nature area within George Snow Park, 1101 NW 15th St. The new location is near a popular playground and focuses on books for toddlers and younger children in strollers.
Different books will be displayed every month throughout the year.
The StoryWalk program is a collaborative partnership with the Boca Raton Public Library and the Palm Beach County Environmental Resources Management Department.
“The StoryWalk at Pondhawk Natural Area was the realization of a shared vision,” Library Services Manager Ellen Randolph said in a statement. “This exciting project would not have been possible without our innovative partnerships with Palm Beach County Environmental Resource Management and our wonderful Friends of the Library group. They all loved the idea immediately and have been actively involved in every step of this initiative.”