It’s been nearly two years since Friends of the Dallas Public Library Executive Director Mary Wilonsky and a crowd of folks including County Commissioner Judge Clay Jenkins, City Councilperson Jennifer Staubach Gates, Literacy Achieves Sarah Papert, philanthropist Sarah Losinger and Crystal Charity Ball representative Kristina Whitcomb bundled up on a December night to break ground for the Vickery Park Branch Library. For years the vacant lot had been a gathering place for the homeless to hang out. Basically it was an eyesore for the neighborhood just across the way from NorthPark Center.
But today that neglected property is in the final stages of rising to be a shining star in the Vickery Meadow neighborhood. With workmen installing signage outdoors and internet systems inside, the welcome mat is already taking shape. The 18,000-square-foot building’s floor-to-ceiling windows boast words of welcome in a variety of languages; a three-dimensional sign is being hoisted into place; over the front door is emblazoned “Library;” Studio Outside‘s landscape trees are starting to take root where weeds once grew; the children’s Kompan playground with its carpeted flooring warns “Welcome – This play area is designed for children ages 2-5. Adult supervision is recommended.”
In addition to being a state-the-art 21st century library, the Oglesby Green Architects-designed building will be a gathering place for the neighborhood’s multicultural community. When it opens in 2021, the $8M library will have rooms that may be used for classes and meetings. A youth center complete with STEM kits, gaming kits, gaming systems and coding classes will be made possible, thanks to a $752,000 grant from the Crystal Charity Ball committee.