Reading Public Museum and Berks Library System Launch StoryWalk in the Museum’s Arboretum

The Reading Public Museum and the Berks County Public Library System have teamed up to open StoryWalk in The Museum’s 25-acre arboretum. To celebrate the opening, both organizations held a ribbon cutting ceremony on Monday morning to commemorate the project.

The StoryWalk is a way for children and adults to enjoy reading and the outdoors at the same time. Laminated pages from story books are attached to metal posts, which are installed along the arboretum path. As visitors stroll the arboretum, they will be directed to the next page of the story. Some posts will even include an activity.

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“Opening the StoryWalk is just one way we’re bringing library services to our communities,” said Amy Resh, system administrator for Berks County Public Libraries.

“The joys of reading and love of the outdoors aren’t mutually exclusive, and the StoryWalk offers a great way to blend the two. We continuously strive to partner with local organizations like the Museum, because we believe the benefits of libraries can be enjoyed everywhere.”

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The featured story on the walk will change periodically to align with what is on exhibit at The Museum. The first story, Call Me Tree by Maya Christina Gonzalez, is a bilingual, imaginative story about becoming your fullest self and empowers young readers to dream, reach, and to be free and unique as trees.

Not only does Call Me Tree tie into The Museum’s Roots of Wisdom exhibit opening September 25, it also relates to the Bronze Root sculpture by Steve Tobin in front of The Museum.

This story inspires individuals to become their fullest self, just as the Roots of Wisdom exhibit inspires individuals to use nature to its fullest potential in a responsible and sustainable way. Additionally, the Bronze Root sculpture featured prominently in front of The Museum is a reminder to look for the beauty of what lies beneath the surface, just as Call Me Tree empowers readers to be more than what is seen on the outside.

Alison Trautmann, Outreach Services Coordinator for the Berks County Public Libraries contacted The Museum in the early spring of 2021 to discuss the possibilities of positioning a StoryWalk on the grounds of The Museum.

“For more than a decade we’ve continually worked to introduce what is happening inside The Museum to the audience outside using the Arboretum,” stated John Graydon Smith, the Reading Public Museum’s Director and CEO.

“While many of the bikers, dog walkers, and joggers who utilize our trails may never venture inside the main building or Neag Planetarium, this StoryWalk is yet another opportunity for them to experience a taste of our exhibits and collections while enjoying the beauty of the Arboretum, and we hope to inspire many to delve deeper into all that we offer.”

StoryWalks have been installed in 50 states and 13 countries including, Germany, Canada, England, Bermuda, Russia, Malaysia, Pakistan and South Korea. StoryWalk was created by Anne Ferguson of Montpelier, VT and has developed with the help of Rachel Senechal, formerly of the Kellogg-Hubbard Library.

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