UNT college providing programs for Klyde Warren Park reading room
DENTON (UNT), Texas — Instead of checking out and reshelving books, DVDs, magazines and other library materials in a quiet space behind walls, University of North Texas master’s student Misty Maberry is distributing books and games underneath shady trees, with background noise from downtown Dallas.
Maberry, who is studying for her master’s degree in library science as well as a certificate in digital content management in UNT’s College of Information, is the coordinator of the new Dallas Morning News Reading and Games Room at Dallas’ Klyde Warren Park, which opened last month. The 5.2-acre deck park is an urban green space built over the recessed Woodall Rodgers Freeway between Pearl and St. Paul streets.
The Reading and Games Room is not an actual structure with walls, but an open air, 5,000-square-foot section of the park shaded by Chinese pistache trees. The UNT College of Information is working with the Woodall Rogers Foundation to coordinate programming for the space; collect and manage books, magazines and newspapers; and provide students as staff members. The students may eventually receive academic credit for hours worked.
Suliman Hawamdeh, chair of the college’s Department of Library and Information Sciences, said foundation representatives contacted the College of Information upon recommendation from staff at the Dallas Public Library.
“We saw this as a great opportunity for our students and faculty to showcase their ideas and be part of an exciting project. It brings visibility to College of Information programs and UNT, and allows our students to be part of a unique educational model,” Hawamdeh said.
Open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. seven days a week, the Reading and Games Room includes colorful custom-built, movable book, magazine and game carts, movable chairs and other furniture. Maberry described the area as “a fluid space that can be arranged differently every day, depending on what activities are scheduled.”
She said that a lending library could be considered as a usual part of an urban park.
“People have always come to parks to read and relax, so it’s a natural extension of that to provide literature and games within a park setting,” she said. While Reading and Games Room visitors can’t take the books and other materials home with them, they also don’t have to worry about not having a newspaper or magazine to read when they come to the park, and can check out chess and other board games during their visit, she said.
In addition, park visitors may attend the many free programs at the Reading and Games Room, provided by UNT faculty staff and students as well as staff members from the Dallas Public Library and clubs and organizations.
The UNT College of Information began its Ideas in Bloom series this month, offering free lectures from noon to 1 p.m. Thursdays. The first program introduced Dallas history available online on The Portal to Texas History, which is maintained by UNT Libraries. The College of Information will offer another Ideas in Bloom Dec. 6, when the featured speaker will be Richard Menchaca, a faculty member at El Centro College and one of the first Latino students to attend North Texas State College, now UNT, on an athletic scholarship. The program will also provide information on the UNT Libraries’ Latino Archive Initiative to document the history of Latinos in Dallas and other North Texas communities.
Other programs include a weekly knitting circle and knitting lessons provided by employees of The Shabby Sheep, a Dallas yarn shop; chess lessons from the University of Texas at Dallas chess team; and mah jongg lessons. In the future, children’s storytimes, poetry readings, writing classes and other programs will be added. For more information, go to the Reading and Games Room website.