Hubbard Public Library's Fundraising Success Leads to Musical Storywalk®

‘Beyond Books’ is the slogan for Hubbard Public Library (HPL) in Ohio, and today it certainly offers more than just books.

Mary Anne Russo, Children’s Librarian at HPL, had her sights on Percussion Play’s outdoor musical instruments, and after a successful fundraiser, community members are now enjoying playing music on its permanent ‘StoryWalk®’ on the grounds of the library.

As a volunteer, Cynthia Hirtzel helps the library to fund projects. After seeing Percussion Play’s instruments, Cynthia also realized they would be perfect for encouraging children to spend time outside, away from technology and screens, and reconnect with nature.

Cynthia argues we have a ‘nature deficit’ and that regardless of the impact the pandemic had, in moving people outside, we should always encourage children to play and learn outdoors.

To encourage outdoor play, the Library sought grants, and Cynthia enquired about prices for a range of instruments; however, when the funding from a first grant didn’t come through, Cynthia received guidance and support from Percussion Play’s sales team. The team sent resources about funding possibilities and encouraged Cynthia to find other funding avenues. Cynthia says, “the team at Percussion Play was so patient and kind. It felt like an unusual experience as no company I have ever worked with has helped me in that way”.

When the library finally raised funds for the instruments, the Children’s Librarian, Mary Anne Russo, decided they should be incorporated into an outdoor sensory path and ‘StoryWalk®.’

The instruments were installed and ready to use in November, and even though it was very cold, they quickly became one of the most popular activities in the garden. The instruments include the Sunflower Petal Drums, which children love. Cynthia says, “the kids are really drawn to sunflowers – it’s as if the instruments are calling their name! They run over to them as soon as they spot them”.

But it’s not just children who enjoy the instruments; everyone who comes to the library and even those who don’t have a library card can come and create music. Being located at the entrance to the library means everyone sees them, and even when the library isn’t open on a Sunday, families come together to make music.

Cynthia says, “it’s all about democratizing music, and we are especially pleased about how accessible the instruments are. They are truly for everyone”.