With less time in school and many businesses closed, it's a difficult time for parents to keep their children entertained. That’s why the Campbell County Public Library system started the book hunt program.
Multiple businesses in both Altavista and Brookneal have partnered with their respective library branches to place pictures of books in their windows. Anyone who wants to complete the hunt receives a list of the businesses with books in their windows, and will find a different book to check out at each stop. Using an app called Beanstack, participants can record the books they find and will receive a virtual badge for finding at least 12 books.
Kirsten Aherron, main street coordinator with Altavista On Track, helped Staunton River Memorial Library find Altavista businesses to participate in the program.
“The idea is just to give kids and families something to do and get people to walk around town,” Aherron said.
18 businesses in Altavista are currently a part of the program, which started in Altavista on September 1 and will continue until the end of October. Aherron said businesses that weren’t able to participate in the first round are welcome to join in the next two-month round.
Katie Lane, the youth and community outreach coordinator for the Campbell County Public Library system, is the program’s main organizer. Lane said she originally wanted to have a story walk, but pivoted to the book hunt to help businesses while giving locals something to do.
“Part of our job at the library is to support our community,” Lane said.
Lane said the program has been a success so far in Brookneal, where it is in its second two-month round, and that it may expand to other area libraries in the near future. In addition to giving families something to do, Lane said it can be a great way for newcomers to get the lay of the land, or for long-time residents to explore other parts of the county. Lane said she enjoyed the chance to explore while planning the program.
“It was lovely to walk around the town of Altavista,” Lane said.
Lane said she’s received positive feedback from businesses about extra foot traffic from the program, and that even if the libraries are closed, there are cabinets outside with lists of the businesses that are participating. Lane said she thinks it can be a fun, affordable way for families to make memories.
“The biggest thing is that it’s free,” Lane said.