Many of our St. Lawrence County communities are participating in the “Painted Rocks” activity that has gained popularity in recent weeks. If you’ve noticed painted rocks and stones hiding in plain sight, and aren’t familiar with the premise, it works basically like this: people paint rocks and distribute them around the community – in parks, along sidewalks, in retail stores, in community buildings, and public libraries – for other community members to locate. When someone finds a rock, there will be a message on the bottom similar to “post to Lisbon Rocks on Facebook”, or “post to Heuvelton Rocks on Facebook”. People snap photos of the rocks and post them to the referenced Facebook group, then re-hide the rock in another location. When someone finds a rock they wish to keep, they are encouraged to paint a new rock and hide it in a new location for someone else to find.
The program is appealing to all ages, and all abilities. It encourages physical activity and a sense of community. Libraries are finding themselves involved, as we are discovering a huge number of rocks hidden (usually in plain sight), among our flowerbeds, entryways, and even on our bookshelves! Some libraries are noticing an increase in foot traffic, as more families are visiting the library to search for, and hide, rocks. While at the library, children are exposed to our Summer Reading programs, new book displays, and the sense of community we offer within our buildings.
Duffy Ashley is the Director of the Waddington Hepburn Library and a member of Waddington Rocks. She has noticed many community members painting rocks at home, and then leaving rocks in and around her library. According to Emily Hastings, Director of the Canton Free Library, painted rocks have appeared at the library in recent days. According to her observations, the Little Free Libraries in town are stocked with not only free books, but painted rocks!
Penny Kerfien, Executive Director of the Ogdensburg Public Library and a member of Ogdensburg Rocks, has noticed a definite increase in library visitors as kids and families are searching for and finding new rocks within the building and outside in Library Park. The Ogdensburg Public Library will be hosting a rock-painting activity at the Funfest on July 23rd from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm. The Funfest includes dozens of other activities, so be sure to stop by, paint a rock, and see what else they have to offer.
The first painted rock at the Lisbon Hepburn Library showed up in early June and there has been a continuous rotation of creative and colorful rocks showing up on a daily basis. Lisbon will be hosting a rock-painting activity for all ages on July 12 from 10:00 am to noon. In addition, every person who brings a painted rock to the circulation desk between July 10th and July 14th will receive a free bookmark to color.
Looking for inspiration as you paint your own rocks? Within St. Lawrence County, the following libraries have books about rock and stone painting: Morley, Norwood, Colton, Massena, and Canton. Many more books are available within the North Country Library System and may be borrowed through inter-library loan, and shipped to your local library for pick up. All you need is a valid library card.
Join our local communities in rock hunting – it’s lot’s of fun. While you’re out searching for and hiding rocks, stop by your local library and check out everything we have to offer. You might just find a special painted rock hiding among the books!