Walking Stick Blogger

A Learning Space for Literacy and English Language Learners

StoryTents, StoryWagons – What a Great Idea!

I have been following Wendell Dryden’s blog, Qualities – Communities – Literacies, and have been following his series of posts on “storytents” and storywagons. These inspire me to think about planning  for community literacy projects for next summer, now that the arduous three + years of graduate work is finished, and I finally have time to devote some time to volunteering and contributing to my community and promoting my love of reading and learning.

Back in 2010, I had just finished my summer class at the College and was starting taking some time-out to re-charge batteries, so I had had some time to read blogs, and think about the idea of story-tents – this is an amazing idea!

The images of the rainy day storytents resonated with me – Prince Rupertites call rain “liquid sunshine”, and when rain comes in many varieties where I am living. As long as it is not the driving sideways rain with heavy winds (common in Fall, Winter, and Spring), storytents would be an interesting way to reach out to the community and raise awareness about literacy for families. It woudl also give me a chance to broaden my own horizons, and be with children more often (As an adult literacy educator, I work with adults, and my grad work has been an adult-only conversation). In any case, I want to touch base with that basic love of reading, of learning, and get out more in the sunshine (liquid, shaded, or otherwise).

Wendell summed the motivation I have for doing this, and echoes my own sentiments:

“One of the joys of the Quality Storytents program is hanging out with people who just want to read.”

I also was struck by the truth of Wendell’s words about the power of books in this modern electronic age:

“Books are… trusts. In them we store our language and history and culture. Through them we talk to others across space and time. We authors owe our readers and our common language a certain amount of care and sobriety.”

The tradition of enjoying a quiet space and reading in silence is an established routine in my life. I would like to start storytents in Prince Rupert, and perhaps transport mobile storytents to remote coastal communites during the summertime.

Getting the reading materials to remote communities may be a bit tricky, but perhaps arrangements can be made to ship them via Floatplane, or by boat?

And maybe stocking an ATV full of reading materials from the loading docks  – sort of a bigger version of the story-wagons – and deliver the books and resources to members of the community – I rather like the vision of hanging on white-knuckled on the back of the ATV while we boot along the boardwalks of Hartley Bay, for example, children and dogs running alongside us. (Everytime I have walked with my wife on the boardwalks, we collect a following of friendly dogs and curious little children.

It reminds me somewhat of the mission vessel Thomas Crosby V. Sadly, that boat made its last voyage in 1985. One of the services they promoted was its  portable library, in which people could swap and get books to read for parents and children.

It seems fanciful, perhaps a longer term goal, but I would like to see the idea of a ship with a portable library and compact computer lab moving along the coast to visit remote communities. It would be nice.

The idea of setting up a used book library and wifi hotspot where visitors can trade in their old books for others, and learn how to use the internet and the computer are some ideas that my wife and I would like to see occur in Hartley Bay.

I want to thank Wendell for his inspiring stories – they have been getting me thinking. I will talk to the local literacy organizations for feedback.

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netizenship • June 2, 2014

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