Roadside storytime

Fri, 05/08/2020 - 4:15pm
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At the corner of Beach Avenue and Center Road, you can take a moment out of your day and read a book.

Not a book that you may have on you, but a book lined up on the side of the road, on the lawn of the Island Free Library’s Interlibrary Loan and Circulation Clerk Judy Mitchell’s house.

“I’ve got the perfect lawn for it,” said Mitchell. “So now when you’re walking into town you can read the story word for word.”

The Island Free Library is now closed due to the current medical crisis, but Director Kristin Baumann said that when town employees were asked to come off administrative leave last week, the staff at the library had to get creative in terms of how they could still connect with members and have a presence on the island.

“We had to start being creative about what our work would look like. This has been the challenge: what do our jobs look like and what creative ways we can do them in this time,” said Baumann. First, she said, “Judy wrote over 80 handwritten notes to our community to stay connected. Then we wanted to put out stories. This second project is called ‘Story Walk.’ The concept came from a Vermont library.”

A library conference Baumann and other staff members attended taught them how to do the project inexpensively. She said they purchased lawn signs at Staples and had two copies of the book because each page has to be facing the reader, and the pages were Velcroed to the lawn sign. There is also a copy of the book at the library.

The first story is “Indi Surfs,” by Chris Gorman, and has a theme island residents can relate to.

“This is one of our favorites,” said Baumann.

“We want to keep the library alive, even though we’re not there,” said Mitchell. “This was fun and it’s fun watching people stop and slow down and read and enjoy the scenery.”

A new book will appear each Friday.