The pandemic changed nearly all aspects of everyday life. Communities all over the globe had to get creative after COVID-19 broke out and come up with new, innovative events and ideas that kept everyone safe but still brought the community together.
Pittsburg State student Toni Zibert, senior in graphic communications and an intern at the Pittsburg Public Library (PPL), collaborated with the staff of PPL to set up StoryWalks in Schlanger Park and Lakeside Park.
“Personally, I wanted the project to reflect the Children’s Department’s bright and immersive atmosphere,” Zibert said. “It was very important to me and everyone else that this be successful, especially with the stress of the pandemic and quarantine. We all shared the same goal of bringing happiness to the community through reading.”
Zibert and the PPL staff set out to reach the Pittsburg community when the library was temporarily closed due to the pandemic.
“(I’m) super satisfied (with the project),” Zibert said. “I think the project has had such a positive impact on the community as a whole, and the staff here at the library has been more than pleased with the feedback we’ve received from it. It’s been a very rewarding experience for all of us.”
PPL Director Bev Clarkson praised Zibert for her effort and dedication to the project.
“She did such a tremendous job getting the… (StoryWalk) project up and running,” Clarkson told the PSU marketing and communication department. “Her work and the project exceeded all of our expectations, and we got great feedback from parents and community members.”
The project was made possible by the skills that Zibert learned and built on as a student at PSU.
“…My time spent with the Graphics and Imaging Technologies department allowed me to develop the design sense and skills that I needed in order to complete this project, as well as others that I did during my internship,” Zibert said. “The classes that I took gave me a solid foundation to work with. I’m very grateful to my professors who have been so encouraging towards me, as well. I’ve had a slightly untraditional educational journey, but their support meant a lot to me and really pushed me forward.”
The creative element of the StoryWalk project is good hands-on experience and will assist Zibert after she graduates and starts her professional career.
“This project required patience, a keen eye, and dedication,” Zibert said. “It was a multi-month long project, that multiple people worked on in a collaborative setting. It involved a lot of planning, and a lot of problem solving along the way. Being involved in a project like this gave me some important experience for my future graphics-related career, since I know that working with a team to accomplish jobs is a big component in my field of work.”
There are many different components of putting together a StoryWalk and it’s a time-consuming process.
“It’s a huge team effort, from picking out the books that we want to feature, to assembling the pages, and then finally installing the new story in the parks,” Zibert said. “There is especially a lot of time putting the pages together, because it’s all done by hand by our staff and there’s some meticulous cutting and gluing involved. I think we have it down to an art now.”
According to Zibert, without the help and support of the PPL staff, the StoryWalk project wouldn’t have been possible.
“I’m eternally grateful to Pittsburg Public Library for the opportunities they have given me,” Zibert said. “The experience I have gained has really inspired me for future career paths that I may take. A huge, huge thank you to our director, Bev, my boss, and head of Youth Services, Gail, and our uber talented Young Adult librarian, Jessica…”