CULLMAN, Ala. – Beginning Wednesday morning, July 1, kiddos big and small around town should be on the lookout for some colorful painted rocks- 60 of them to be exact! The fun, family-friendly game is courtesy of The Friends of the Public Libraries of Cullman County. Each hand-painted rock features a fun design with “#read” painted on the back with a number. Found rocks can be turned in to the library in exchange for a fun “brag tag.” The rocks are hidden in easy-to-find places throughout Cullman- in parks, parking lots, shopping areas and downtown, all in safe and easy-to reach areas.  

Friends Secretary Renée Welsh shared, “The Friends continue to search for safe-to-do activities during these challenging times. Recognizing that social distancing remains critical to protecting our loved ones – we benchmarked with other nonprofit groups and how they were encouraging outdoor opportunities as a way for families to spend time together. Painted rock hunts sounded like a fun idea! The premise is simple: gather a few supplies (flat, smooth rocks, acrylic paint, paint brushes), and decorate the rock. We chose a few colorful and playful ideas – frog, turtle, happy face, lady bug, hot dog and a watermelon slice. The bottom of the rock has a number and ‘#read.’ We wanted to ensure that if other organizations or groups were painting rocks as an activity – the individual could distinguish our rocks from any other group.”

She continued, “Anyone can participate! When a #read rock is found — please bring it to the library so it can be logged. We have a brag tag for each #read rock discovered. The Friends are excited about our brag tag inventory. We were able to use a portion of the Dollar General grant we received in May to purchase the incentives. We also would love to get a photo so we can celebrate and post to social media!”

Brag tags are part of the Cullman County Public Library System’s main branch summer learning program, where kids (or anyone) who participate in activities receive little tags they can hang as a keychain or off their backpacks.

“We have hidden them in plain sight throughout Cullman in parks, parking lots, high-traffic shopping areas, downtown,” said Welsh. “All rocks are in a safe-to-reach, low-impact area. The hunt begins July 1 – and continues throughout the month – or until all the rocks are found.”

On other events the Friends are hosting, she shared, “July 1 also begins our Leaf Art event. We have announced on social media that The Friends are sponsoring a Leaf Art event on July 6. Take a peek at the examples! Feel free to use these – or create your own! Artwork will be displayed in the Cullman Library windows for patrons to see as they pass by the library. Optimal size – 8 1/2” x 11″ paper so we can display as many as possible. Any color paper – be creative! Artists will receive a brag tag for participating. The artwork will remain on display the during the month of July.”

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Maggie Darnell

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