Friday, January 11, 2013

Totally Texas -- A library designed for kids


Dallas NorthPark Center

8687 North Central Expressway (Central at Northwest Highway)


As I write this, the rain stopped, the sun came out, and temperatures hover near 60 degrees F. It won’t last long. And the boys must get at least an hour daily of serious rowdy time or they’re not fit to live with. What’s our choice when winter weather turns playgrounds into mud pits? You guessed it -- we head for a shopping mall.

Our mall of choice is NorthPark. It has not only stuff kids were never intended to play on, but do, but also Bookmarks, the only library branch in Dallas designed just for kids. Because when the boys work off their extra energy, there’s nothing they like better than curling up with a good book. Or a computer. Maybe even a craft project. All of which are on tap at Bookmarks.

Designed for children up to age 12, the storefront library offers internet computers, story telling, puzzles, crafts and other activities for youngsters and their caretakers. Oh, and it has books you can check out with your Dallas library card.

The boys love the story book murals like the one illustrating this post. And they love the computers, loaded with games accessible even to nonreaders. They needed only a little adult help on our most recent visit to master Bookmarks’ new touch screens.

The computers are only for kids. And Bookmarks is not daycare -- you must stay to supervise your children. But with comfortable chairs, magazines and Wi-Fi, library visitors of all ages can coexist happily.

Bookmarks is one of only three Dallas library branches open on Monday, which makes it a go-to for Monday school holidays. It’s closed Tuesdays but otherwise open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily except Sundays (noon to 5 p.m.).

It’s located on NorthPark’s first level, between Nordstrom and Macy’s. Restrooms and a drinking fountain are across the hall. Only a few steps away is the mall’s outdoor sculpture garden, with grassy lawns to run and tumble on whenever the sun does decide to come out.

For a complete schedule of Bookmarks’ activities for children, see

(Next Friday -- if it’s midwinter, it must be time for the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo. Hope the weather cooperates. If not, that’s what covered arenas are for.)

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