Youth Department

Big Woods Lake StoryWalk®

In collaboration with the Cedar Falls Public Library, the City of Cedar Falls, and the Community Foundation, we are pleased to announce that we have installed our first StoryWalk® at Big Woods Lake.

Funding provided by the Cedar Falls Community Foundation, Robert and Shirley Berg fund for use by the Library.

The StoryWalk® project was created by Anne Ferguson of Montpelier, VT, and developed in collaboration with the Vermont Bicycle & Pedestrian Coalition and the Kellogg Hubbard Library.


What is a Storywalk®?

A picture of the first pages of the StoryWalk

A StoryWalk® is just what it sounds like: a story you can enjoy while on a walk. Picture book pages are on mounted frames along the trail along with activity prompts. The Public Library Association describes “A StoryWalk® is literally taking apart a picture book, placing each laminated page in a weather-protected frame, and placing these frames in an outdoor space so that children and families can enjoy books in an outdoor setting”. They showcase books that are engaging and colorful. The story panels also include physical activities to complete as well as literacy tips and tools, which focus on the five practices of singing, talking, reading, writing, and playing every day from Every Child Ready to Read (ALSC Liasion).

Where is the Big Woods Lake Storywalk®?

StoryWalk Map

The StoryWalk® begins at the Big Woods Lake Campgrounds and goes clockwise.

Big Woods Lake Campground is located at 1501 East Lake Street, Cedar Falls.

From Highway 218: Take exit 189 for Lone Tree Rd, turn west onto Lone Tree Rd & take the 1st left onto Big Woods Rd, then turn left at E Lake St, the campground will be on the right.

To get to the trail from the library: Go down Main St. towards First. Make a left on First. Turn right on Center St (it’s right after the Ice House Museum). Turn right on Clair Street. Clair curves into Central Ave. Make a slight right to keep following Central Ave. Turn right on W. Lake Street. The Big Woods Lake Trail parking lot will be on the right. On the map above, the parking lot is next to the bathroom marker.  The StoryWalk® begins closer to the campground as is indicated on the map.

For more information about Big Woods Lake Campground go here.

How long is the StoryWalk®?

The StoryWalk® is about 1/4 mile, and it will take between 10-20 minutes to complete. There are eleven stations with a total of 20 signs. The path is marked on the map above. While the route does go off of the paved path, it is still stroller-friendly.

Who would enjoy the StoryWalk®?

Everyone, especially families with kids between the ages of 3 and 12 will get the most enjoyment out of the stories and activities, but picture books are enjoyable no matter how old you are.

Is there any accessibility features for the blind/low vision/print disabled community?

Yes! We’ve been collaborating with the Iowa Library for the Blind and Print Disabled to create Braille for the StoryWalk®. In addition, if you are a member of the Iowa Library for the Blind and Print Disabled, you can access an audio version of the StoryWalk® through BARD.


The Chafee Amendment to U.S. Copyright law, affecting 17 USC 121 and 121A, and signed into law by President Clinton on September 16, 1996, addresses copyright law and reproducing previously published literary works in accessible formats exclusively for use by print-disabled persons. This article by the National Library Service for the Blind and Print-Disabled discusses this statute. In a 1997 article in the magazine “Future Reflections,” which is published by the National Federation of the Blind, libraries are identified as “authorized entities” able to take advantage of this change in the law, allowing them to make audio versions of books for their vision-impaired patrons. Therefore, the Chafee Amendment enables libraries… to create in an accessible format works copyrighted in the United States without express permission. However, the recording must be for the exclusive use of eligible individuals.

Kids walking the StoryWalk

How often will the StoryWalk® change?

We plan on changing the book seasonally, so, roughly:

  • Spring–March
  • Summer-Late May/Early June
  • Fall-September
  • Winter-November

The current book is The Perfect Plan by Leah Gilbert. To access the audio version on BARD, use the code: DBC28586.

What are the StoryWalk® rules?

  1. Be kind and respectful of the StoryWalk®.
  2. Do not litter.
  3. Have fun!

What was the inspiration/motivation for installing a StoryWalk®?

  1. Books are doorways to discovery—they help children develop their imagination and critical thinking skills and to gain access to a wealth of knowledge. However, not everyone likes to sit down and quietly read, or they only associate reading with school work. The Cedar Falls Public library wanted to create an opportunity for children to have fun, meaningful interactions with literature outside of the library and school and have reading be active.
  2. Cedar Falls prides itself on being a community that supports a healthy lifestyle. We have miles of trails in which citizens and visitors can hike, bike, or cross country ski. A StoryWalk® seemed like the perfect marriage between the concepts of reading and health literacy
  3. Other libraries across the country and Iowa have had success with their StoryWalks®, which helped drive our motivation to create one for our community.
    What are the outcomes expected from this project?
  4. To build children’s interest in reading while encouraging healthy outdoor activity for both children and their grown-ups.
  5. To improve overall family health through the combination of Early Literacy, Family Engagement, and Physical Activity.
  6. To convey that reading is for everybody and can be done anywhere.

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