Cold Spring Branch’s New Mural Sends Message to Kids: ‘Read’

A touch of whimsy has been added to our Cold Spring Branch’s exterior.

Local artist Tammy Batson Stephens’ colorful mural depicts children relaxing atop stacks of books imbued with blue, red, green and purple.

Stephens worked alongside library leadership to conceptualize the piece; all were in agreement that ideas of inclusivity and diversity should inform the design.

“The more we talked about it, we thought, ‘Let’s just be really inclusive and put all the nationalities that we can think of to try and cement the idea of how our library is for everyone,” Stephens said.

Placed at the branch’s front entrance, the mural was designed to wrap under the window and pull together what was once empty space. It features two children entering the pages of an open book as if embarking into another dimension. Warmly lit by a lamppost, a snowy, forested path stretches before the duo. As Stephens alludes to, it’s a scene Narnia fans are likely to recognize.

Tammy Batson Stephens’ finished mural, which is located near the front entrance of our Cold Spring Branch.

As Stephens was being interviewed, a patron walked past and remarked that the mural “says to kids: ‘Read. It’s important!’” The comment, Stephens said, is exactly the message she hoped to get across.

A native Kentuckian, she graduated from the Columbus College of Art and Design in 1984 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts. Her mural work also dons the walls of our Newport and Fort Thomas branches. If you’ve strolled about Greater Cincinnati, you may have caught a glimpse of one of her ArtWorks murals, too — she designed Oakley: Morning, Noon, and Night and Sunset Walk through Helentown, among others.

“I knew that wherever I lived, I would want to use what I do to bring a positive change,” Stephens said. “Whenever you’re giving a mural to a community you’re giving it a positive thing. My voice to share is that I feel like we need to be more of a connected community. I hope that everything I paint will say that.”


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