Daisy Garcia-Montoya 
Education Reporter

Families and community members will now be able to enjoy a short story while walking in Budd Park thanks to a collaboration with the Kansas City Public Library and KC’s Park and Recreation Department. 

The idea of the Book Walk project began in 2020 when the Kansas City Public Library (KCPL) had  non-permanent Book Walks set up in Budd Park and other local parks across Kansas City. Due to the materials, the Book Walk installations were not built to withstand tough weather conditions and were only a temporary installation. 

Photo by Julia Williams

Early Learning Librarian at the North-East Library Branch Kate Tammeus says that after joining the KCPL team, her task was to find a way to bring permanent Book Walks to various parks in Kansas City.

“We found some grant money and partnered with Kansas City Parks and Rec and had to go through the approval process but we chose Budd Park because we loved the location. It’s close to our North-East Branch location but we also serve a lot of children and families in that neighborhood,” Tammeus said. 

In addition to the Budd Park installation, a second Book Walk was installed in Gillham Park, located in Midtown, Kansas City. The locations were chosen due to their relationship with the community, with Budd Park being relatively near the North-East Branch and Gillham Park being in the middle of both the Plaza and Westport Branch. 

“We have our North-East Branch Library and even though it’s one of our smaller branches, it serves probably the biggest number of people in the city, we have a ton of patrons in those neighborhoods. We want to just make sure that we are reaching people so that they know where we’re located,” Tammeus said.

For this first book installation, Budd Park will be showcasing a bilingual book in Spanish and English called Quinito’s Neighborhood/ El Vecindario de Quinto. The story follows Quinito as he explores and walks through his own  neighborhood. Tammeus says that the books were chosen to have plenty of illustrations and engagement so that families can enjoy them more than once. The hope is to have the Book Walk panels switched out with new books twice a year. 

Photo by Julia Williams

In addition to the book pages installed into the panels, the Book Walk also holds more information about the resources and services that the public library offers so that community members can have more access. 

“We just think it’s really important that families are able to engage with their kids through reading and learn more about the library and the different things that it can offer,” Tammeus said. “Our hope is really to enhance literacy anywhere that we can bring books to people. What better way to engage with your kid than reading a story as you walk from one part to the other.” 

The Book Walk begins at the entrance of Budd Park at Hardesty and St. John avenues and follows the walking path to the northside playground.