Library story trail to open in Wilton

WILTON – Library volunteer Don Rankin estimates that he spent “about 200 hours” constructing 20 “story boards” that now line the circular driveway in front of the Wilton Public-Gregg Free Library creating a “story trail” visible from Forest Street.

“It was a design-build,” he said, disclaiming that he had invented the white-painted cases.

On Wednesday, May 9, Rankin and several other volunteers installed the glass-fronted, weather-proof boxes on posts that will hold the pages of a story book. Those assisting were Connie Sawyer, Ray Rivard, Lynne Stone and Nikki Andrews, who is also a library trustee.

Library Director Pat Fickette said, “The story trail was created to bring parents/caregivers onto the library grounds by creating an opportunity to read a story together as they walk up the sidewalk”

The first book will be “Dinosaurs, Dinosaurs” by Byron Barton and will be in place for the grand opening of the library’s new outdoor spaces on Saturday.

The book will be changed regularly, Fickett said. “Materials were provided by the grant initiative, which meets the goals of providing active learning opportunities at the library.”

Fickett attended several classes focusing on community needs which included research and conversations with groups such as the Wilton Community Center, Main Street Association, and the Economic Development Committee to determine community needs and develop an outdoor recreation space for concerts, storytelling, and a meeting place for residents and conversation.

The space created behind the library includes granite steps from the Gregg Street parking lot, tables and benches, interactive art installations, and 24-hour free Wi-Fi. Outdoor instruments including drums and a keyboard create a musical play space.

A raised garden bed was built by Boy Scout Jacob Manning for gardening activities with children. Sam Trombly Landscaping donated labor and materials for parts of the project and has donated lawn care for the coming year.

The Small Libraries Create Smart Spaces is funded by OCLC (Online Community Library Center) and a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Many residents also contributed to the fund.

The grand opening celebration will begin at noon following the Wilton Spring Stroll along Main Street and the presentation of the art banners in the Stoney Brook Riverwalk park.

The Rakes of Milford will provide live music. A lunch of pizza, cake and ice cream will be provided, followed by Kevin Gardner, a speaker with N.H. Humanities Council, who will discuss New England’s stonewalls.

The Friends of the Library are co-sponsoring the presentation.