Researching Their Escape Plan
This Friday, the Dallas Public Library opens Bookmarks — kind of a kid-friendly, mini-branch library in the middle of NorthPark Mall. Or actually, just next to the central mall garden and XXI Forever. It’s hardly the first public library to elbow its way into our Commercialized American Gathering Place (Regina, Saskatchewan, had one in 1966). But let’s face it, NorthPark is pretty much the Heart o’ Dallas if anything is, so getting some reading material in there, even if it’s “one fish, two fish, red fish, blue fish” would seem to be A Good Thing — especially for the DPL’s public presence (have I mentioned their cool, new catalog search engine?).
Besides, Bookmarks looks to be more than just a helpful, brightly-colored place with washable surfaces that will let you park the pre-schooler while Mom hits Nordstrom and Dad checks out GameStop. In addition to book-reading, storytelling and special “interactive” events (plus, hey, a big aquarium), Bookmarks will offer some serious assistance, such as DASH (Dallas After School Help), which provides free, real-time, one-on-one tutoring in English and Spanish. There are also databases designed to help with school assignments, and for toddlers to second-graders — who probably don’t do much datamining in research libraries — there will be two Early Learning Stations, which are computer interfaces that “encourage exploration,” i.e., lots of large icons to click on linked to Nifty Stuff, with a keyboard and mouse to get the Little Uns familiar with the equipment they’ll be hogging at home all too soon.