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J. Erik Jonsson Central Library

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It’s not just the chain bookstores that have what in the days of yore were known as kiddie corrals—stalls in grocery stores where children read comic books while their parents shopped. At the Dallas Central Library, a big chunk of the second floor is devoted to kids who aspire to be both literate and fun. Who doesn’t? Cool in the summer and warm in winter, the spacious rec ‘n’ read area has storytime, kid videos, computer terminals, and lots of books that—gasp!—can be checked out, not purchased. Kids-only restrooms are a thoughtful extra. And cheap parking under the library (weekend maximum $3) eliminates any anxieties about access.

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