Reading Tree

James Lake Sculpture

Exeter-based sculptor, James Lake, was commissioned to create a site-specific sculpture for Barnstaple Library.

Designed to be placed at the heart of the library, the Reading Tree creates an inclusive space under which to gather and spend time. The idea for the Reading Tree developed as James observed how different individuals and groups use the space of the library throughout the day.

The Reading Tree will be adjusted and decorated throughout the calendar year to reflect the cyclical nature of the seasons. This changing aspect of the tree comments on the evolving role of the library as it becomes inhabited by different community groups and, by extension, on the evolving role of the library in society.

James Lake created the sculpture during a residency in the old GAP shop on Exeter High Street during the autumn of 2022 (Your Library on the High Street). The installation of the Tree in Barnstaple Library was supported by Creative Technologist, Jay Kerry. Watch the film below to hear more about the residency.

Visit our Events page for details of related events and workshops.


To see James Lake's Reading Tree, visit Barnstaple Library during library opening hours.

Watch the video below to hear more about James' residency at the Old Gap shop on Exeter High Street:

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