North Texas Daily

Students gain experience at new Dallas park

Students gain experience at new Dallas park

November 26
22:28 2012

Nadia Hill/Senior Staff Writer

Chinese Pistache trees wrapped in yarn divide 5,000 square feet into outdoor reading nooks. More than 300 people each day lounge beneath the leaves of these trees and devour literature from a selection of 427 books donated by UNT and the Dallas Public Library.

The Klyde Warren Park, a 5.2-acre green space arching over I-35 and connecting downtown to uptown, is Dallas’ newest social space.

It opened Oct. 27 and features the Dallas Morning News Reading & Games Room, an open-air library that mimics a similar project in Bryant Park, N.Y.

UNT library science students will work in conjunction with the park’s management, the Woodall Rodgers Park Foundation, to coordinate free events and activities in the park.

Library science graduate student Misty Maeberry is the Reading Room Coordinator.

Maeberry received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas at Dallas and worked as a bookkeeper for more than 10 years.

Maeberry is now working toward her master’s and volunteering at local libraries and planning educational events as her first job in the field of library work.

“Being able to help people and preserve history is an important thing to do,” Maeberry said. “There’s nothing in my coursework exactly like this, but it’s more of a cohesive whole, and I’m finding creative ways to apply basic principles. This is all very new for me and will be really helpful.”

Along with hiring Maeberry, the foundation is working closely with UNT and the College of Information to plan and host events in the reading room, all manned by students.

Library sciences department chair Suliman Hawamdeh has been instrumental in recruiting students and advertising the opportunities available to them.

“It’s like a practicum or hands-on lab for students, and a platform to connect with so many people,” Hawamdeh said. “UNT doesn’t have much presence in Dallas, and anything we can do to improve that would be good. We’re basically responsible for bringing the programming to the park.”

The Woodall Rodgers Park Foundation is still expanding and recently added a guest services position. They are currently looking for students to staff the reading room and plan events.

“As we were exploring partnerships for all of the park programming, the College of Information was an especially great fit for the kind of materials we want to make available,” said Annie Black, the Woodall Rodgers Park Foundation program coordinator. “We worked closely with consultants who also worked on Bryant Park, and we hope to have similar results here in Dallas with a space that gives people the opportunity to grab a book and enjoy the beautiful environment. We think the Reading Room has a ton of potential.”

The reading room is open from dawn until dusk each day. Its next event is Ideas in Bloom on Dec. 6.

“I don’t know the plan for long term and how everything will change and evolve for UNT’s participation,” Maeberry said. “But the foundation has been very interested in working with students, largely because of the fantastic library program here. UNT is a big part of a group effort.”

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