The origins of Literacy in the Park date back to 2004 but the first
official Literacy in the Park, as we know it today, took place in
2006. That year, authors Heidi Petach and Jim Murphy gave
presentations, read their books to families and conducted book
From 2007 - 2012, families and children were exposed to a wide range of popular children's authors while listening to presentations and watching performances by groups such as The Treehouse Troop and the Jerome Library Rollers. In 2013 Literacy in the Park grew exponentially with the introduction of Anna Dewdney as the featured author. The event recorded a record-breaking attendance of over 900 adults and almost 1,300 children. Each family received a "Literacy Bag" that included a copy of "Llama Llama, Red Pajama," as well as other education handouts. In addition to Dewdney's presentations, this year's event included presentations by local author Dianne Terry, performances by the Horizon Youth Theatre, a Poetry Reading Contest, family board games, reading to therapy dogs, interactive games with BGSU students, displays from more than 40 different exhibitors, and the opportunity to pet a real llama.
The 2013 event drew just under 500 families, including 974 adults and 1257 children, making this a record-breaking year for attendance. Each family received a "Literacy Bag" that included one copy of Anna Dewdney's “Llama Llama, Red Pajama,” as well as other educational handouts.
The next year the event moved out of the Lenhart Grand Ballroom to a larger location at the Stroh Center. Eric Litwan, author of the Pete the Cat series, presented to a record-breaking crowd of over 4,000 individuals. Each family was given a Pete the Cat book and Litwan conducted two book signing sessions. In addition to the new location, the 2014 event expanded its definition of literacy to the public and offered activities in areas of nutritional literacy, visual literacy, financial literacy, musical litearcy, physical literacy and much more. The Toledo Opera performed and children enjoyed a new activity where they read with a Falcon athlete.
Laura Numeroff, popular children's author of Give a Mouse a Cookie, headlined the 2015 event. With over 3,000 individuals in attendance, Numeroff presented to the group and took pictures with the crowd. The event continued exploring more areas of literacy and offered the participants more booths and activities. In addition to the booths, Toledo School for the Arts steel drum band performed as well as BGSU's accapella groups Ten40 and Not Yet Perfect.
The 2016 event saw its largest number of exhibitors and activity stations in the event's history. With over 70 activity stations for children of all ages, the Perry Field House was packed with activities from hula hooping to creating a healthy snack. Featured author Todd Parr kept the audience hooked with a fun and colorful presentation, and a sneak peak at his latest book "The Teacher Book." In addition to Parr, the stage was full with acapella from BGSU groups as well as interactive story telling.