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SummAR Reading Story Trail

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SummAR Reading Story Trail

Baltimore County Public Library, Md.

Civic and Community Engagement | 2020

Innovation Summary

Baltimore County Public Library presents an augmented reality storywalk around the summer reading theme "A Universe of Stories." The storywalk features beautiful illustrations and space facts that families may discover while walking through nature. With a free downloadable app, families experience interactive 3-D holograms and an animated narrator.

Problem Statement

Children and adult caregivers need more meaningful ways to share learning experiences in their everyday lives. At BCPL, we strive to find new methods and locations to provide such interactions. These brightly colored images placed where families enjoy walking in nature spark interaction and excitement. By adding an augmented reality layer, we are able to casually and naturally introduce emerging technology while making the content more accessible to people who are pre-literate or vision-impaired.


Innovation

  1. BCPL partnered with renowned author and illustrator Kevin Sherry, the Space Telescope Science Institute, the Maryland State Library and BaltiVirtual to bring this project to life.
  2. As far as we have been able to discover, this is the first AR storywalk hosted by a public library in the world.
  3. Children and their parents are equally drawn in by the illustrations, technology, interactive holograms and fun narration.
  4. Image files and the free app are now available to all public schools and libraries to use.

Progress

  1. Children and caregivers interacted while exploring the story walk together.
  2. Families who went for a walk serendipitously learned about astronomy and technology.
  3. Library customers looking for the storywalks learned about two wonderful local outdoor venues.
  4. In July and August 2019, we had over 2,000 app views of the posters. Since then we have opened up the image files and app so that any school or library can use them.
  5. Our partnerships with Kevin Sherry and BaltiVirtual have expanded into other projects.