Submitted photo

Niles Parks and Recreation Director Mark Pallante, left, and McKinley Memorial Library Director Michelle Alleman show off one of the new story boards installed Thursday at Stevens Park as part of a StoryWalk.

NILES — The city’s Parks and Recreation Department and the McKinley Memorial Library have partnered to bring a StoryWalk to Stevens Park on the paved trail east of the playground, pickleball and tennis courts.

Park workers were installing the wooden story boards Thursday.

StoryWalk is an educational activity that places children’s storybooks along a walking route in the community. It combines physical activity with books to help build children’s interest in reading while encouraging healthy activity.

Families are encouraged to follow along the path, where each page of the story is paired with questions and activities to encourage an interactive experience.

StoryWalks can be found in all 50 states and are touted as a great way for both residents and visitors to enjoy the beauty of the park, a good book and quality time together.

“I was very excited when Mark Pallante (Parks and Recreation Director) approached me about installing a permanent StoryWalk in the city of Niles,” said McKinley Memorial Library Director Michelle Alleman. “StoryWalks are a wonderful partnership between the park and the library, and our collaborative efforts will be enjoyed by families for years to come. Once it is safe to do so, residents can plan to attend many fun programs in Stevens Park that are tied in to the books featured in the StoryWalk. In the meantime, I felt that moving forward with this project during the pandemic would benefit our community by providing a safe and fun activity year round.”

The first book featured is “The Favorite Book” by Bethanie Deeney Murguia and will remain on display through the end of December. A new book will be featured in January, Alleman said.

For more information, visit Visitors are encouraged to share their StoryWalk experience and photos on Facebook and Instagram using the tag #NilesStoryWalk.

Also Thursday, the library announced it will return to curbside / lobby service only when it reopens Tuesday. Alleman said the decision to close to in-person services was made because of the rising numbers of COVID-19 cases in the area and because Niles City Schools have moved to all remote learning until after Christmas break.

“We prioritize the health and safety of our staff and residents and want to do everything in our power to slow the spread of the coronavirus,” Alleman said in a news release.

Patrons may continue to request materials online or by calling the library at 330-652-1704. Contact the library to make an appointment for curbside or lobby pickup so that staff can have the materials ready.

Patrons in need of printing or reference assistance should call the library.

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