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What are Story Windows?

Gia R.

Staff Writer

Gia R. is from Phoenix, Arizona. She graduated with two business degrees. While studying, her short nonfiction story was published in 2018 in Write On, Downtown, an ASU journal. Since then, she taught preschool students abroad. Now back in AZ, you’ll find her writing, reading, and adoring digital art.

Depending on where you go for your bookish needs, there are a variety of book displays you may come across. Bookstores often have tables in the front with piles of books that fit in certain categories like “new fiction,” “read it before you see it,” or “BookTok.” Libraries also often have little displays in the children’s section and young adult fiction. These displays can vary in creativity and category, but they’re all located inside the building. However, some libraries and bookshops also utilize the space in their store windows. Many will line the window with bestsellers or a famous quote, but that’s not the only option.

What do I mean by that? Well, that space can be used for a different sort of bookish exhibit. That is: a story window. Here’s an example.

As you can see, story windows provide a little bit more than a quote or book cover.

What are story windows?

Story windows act as a window to a story. Pages from the story are put in the window so that people can read the story as they pass by. This is frequently done with children’s books to attract young readers.

To be honest, I haven’t been able to find too many articles about story windows. The majority are simple displays as described earlier. Of the story windows I have seen, they usually include all or most of the pages of a fun book. After all, we don’t want any disappointed little readers who want to know the ending. In this case, that’d actually be a great incentive to go into the library to find the book and finish it! All the story windows include book pages with lots of pictures, which makes children’s books the perfect choice for story windows. Regardless of genre, story windows make more sense for books with larger font size and pictures. This would be the perfect opportunity to exhibit new genres and formats like graphic novels, and I’d be curious to see a story window featuring young adult fiction or adult fiction.

Does the concept of story windows sound familiar?

I hope so! Story windows are very similar to StoryWalks. StoryWalks provide an opportunity for people to enjoy a story as they walk through a park. Instead of looking at book pages on a window, the book pages are mounted on different displays as they walk throughout an area. A story window does the same thing except the story is limited to a few window panes.

Is it only for libraries?

A quick search on Instagram shows a few story windows at libraries, but I don’t think it has to be limited to libraries. It can be applied to other places that sell books. If you want to encourage reading, consider a story window! As lavenderlibrarian on Instagram has said, it’s also “an amazing low budget passive program from libraries.” It’s a wonderful opportunity for libraries to provide a craft or other activity that goes along with the book like the library featured above.

With that said, if you search “story windows,” you are more likely to get results related to Microsoft’s Windows or ways to get your windows extra clean. After a little digging, I also came upon the common idea that books act as windows to other lives, places, and people. If you’re an avid reader, an educator, or both, you know and have seen how reading can expose you to different points of view. It’s been true for me and encourages me to keep reading. I love how a story window can be a very tangible example of this. You can share a different story by putting the pages in the window for others to see. This leads us to the next question!

How can you do this at a bookstore or library?

Creating a story window is a similar process to making a StoryWalk. The first step is picking out a book and taking into account copyright laws. In most cases, you can’t modify the book or make it larger so it’s best to simply put the pages of the book in the window. StoryWalk displays require a hard material for the pages. If you’re interested in learning more about StoryWalks, read our article Literacy Among The Leaves: Everything You Want To Know About StoryWalks. Story Windows don’t need that extra material. Attaching the pages from the inside of the window should keep it reasonably secure.

Have you seen any story windows? Hoping to see one at your local library? Same here!