(05/07/21) NEW IBERIA, La. — The LSU AgCenter and the Iberia Parish Library have partnered to bring a StoryWalk to Main Street in historic downtown New Iberia from April 17 to June 20.
A StoryWalk is an outdoor reading experience where pages from a children’s book are placed on outdoor signage along a walking route or trail.
“We learned that StoryWalks are a great way to promote physical activity and literacy,” said Mandy Armentor, regional coordinator and nutrition extension agent for the LSU AgCenter. “We’ve had a longstanding partnership with the Iberia Parish Library, and COVID-19 impacted a lot of the programs that we usually offer. We still wanted to do something for the community, so we figured this was a great COVID-safe activity for springtime.”
The featured book, “Alycat and the Monday Blues,” was written by Louisiana native Alysson Foti Bourque. In the book, Alycat discovers a cure for her Monday blues with the help of a musical friend.
The StoryWalk begins and ends at the Main Library at 445 E. Main St. Some signs include QR codes that can be scanned using a smartphone to find bonus content.
“I’m hoping the StoryWalk will encourage more people to use our beautiful downtown district,” said Stephanie Lee, public relations coordinator for the Iberia Parish Library. “The StoryWalk runs until June 20, which will segue into our summer programs beginning in June.”
Participants can pick up a map at the front desk of the library to guide them through the route and find historic stops along the way. When participants have walked the entire route, they can return to the library to receive a goody bag, which includes items like a pedometer, an activity book and a recipe book.
“It’s been very well-received by the community,” said Amy Bernard, children’s librarian for the Iberia Parish Library. “Those who want nothing more than to escape the house, stroll Main Street and enjoy a great story, this is totally for them.”
The StoryWalk is part of the LSU AgCenter Healthy Communities initiative, which aims to improve the physical and social environments that influence health using a community-driven approach. The initiative in Iberia Parish is made possible with funding from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education (SNAP-Ed).
For more information about the Alycat StoryWalk, contact Lee at 337-364-7150 or email@example.com.
The map indicates stops along the route, historic sites and local businesses. Photo by Ruthie Losavio/LSU AgCenter
Children’s librarian Amy Bernard poses with the Alycat mascot at the beginning of the StoryWalk route. Photo by Ruthie Losavio/LSU AgCenter
The 11th stop, located in front of the Bayou Teche Museum, includes a QR code linking to a song from the book. Photo by Ruthie Losavio/LSU AgCenter