Dallas Public Library Parklet

Pint-Sized Public Library Offers Books & Whimsy at PARK(ing) Day Dallas

Dallas Public Library Parklet

This is a guest blog post written by Mark Gilman from the Dallas Public Library, one of the largest public library facilities in the country. 

The J. Erik Jonsson Central Library is about a lot more than just books. We are made up of nine floors, organized around subject areas like fine arts and humanities, business and technology, social sciences and genealogy.

We offer one of the most extensive children’s collections in the region. Our Dallas History and Archives division, which is set to reopen soon in a newly renovated space, preserves a vast amount of local history in a variety of formats available nowhere else, including a collection of historic photographs with prints available for purchase.

Each floor houses passionate subject specialist staff whose focus is increasingly shifting towards engaging with the community, creating spaces for informal learning, and fostering various forms of literacy through initiatives like our partnership with the City’s Office of Economic Development, The Dallas B.R.A.I.N. (Business & Information Resource Center) which promotes entrepreneurial literacy, or our Patent & Trademark Resource Center (a partnership with the USPTO). In the evenings we’ve been known to host open mic nights, improv classes, and workshops on urban biking.

PARK(ing) Day Dallas calls out to us because the Library understands the importance of whimsy.

It understands sharing—arguably, collaborative consumption was invented by libraries. We also understand that the world is changing rapidly. Individuals and groups are striving toward greater well-being and wholeness and we want to be a partner in that process.

Our participation in this event provides an opportunity to underscore our commitments to those values.

We had an amazing time participating in last year’s PARK(ing) Day. We relished the opportunity to get outside the walls of our building and have some great conversations with people!

Once again, we want to remind folks that we are here and we are of the present and the future. Collaboration is in our institutional DNA. We want to be a part of the lives of people who live and work in our immediate neighborhood, which is basically downtown and all that adjoins it.

Dallas Public Library Parklet

Our PARK(ing) Day team, which draws from all Central Library units will use old-style wooden book trucks to provide a protective border and to define our space. We will have free books, coloring, a caricature artist, seeds from our seed library—and more—plus a deeply welcoming staff who want to talk with you about your interests and passions and possibly help you with problem-solving, which is pretty much our specialty, as reference library staff.

Dallas Public Library Parklet

Our resources—now including over a hundred licensed databases like Lynda.com, DemographicsNow, ReferenceUSA and ESRI Arc Desktop— are pretty deep, going way beyond what Google can provide.

Our curatorial function has not changed. What’s emerging is our focus on promoting a broadly defined conception of literacy, stepping up our game around community engagement, and providing structures to help people improve their lives.

We need our community to be a part of the process, as we transform in response to a rapidly changing world so we can’t wait to see you at PARK(ing) Day Dallas 2016!

6 Things to Consider When Planning Your PARK

PARK(ing) Day is an annual celebration of space that gives artists, designers, businesses and residents a chance to transform metered parking spots into temporary public parks. This one day event is meant to inspire creativity and test innovative ideas for reclaiming car-centric spaces for people.

There are no limits to the ideas and ways to transform a parking space. Though the concept of a 9’x18’ PARK is simple, the sheer number of options and ideas can often leave you overwhelmed or worse, in over your head. It is good to remember that your PARK can be as simple as a place to sit, read, talk or relax.

1. Site Constraints

Dimensions. The dimensions for a typical parking space are 9 feet by 18 feet. If you are planning two spaces, you should plan for 9 feet by 40 feet. When you are considering ground cover that equals 168 square feet and 360 square feet, respectively. (*note: If you are planning to use sand, gravel, or other loose materials, you will need to use a liner to allow you to remove these materials easily.)

Cant. The street is not a flat surface. Streets are designed and constructed with a curve (called a “cant”) to allow stormwater to drain quickly. If your idea requires a flat surface or if you have vertical structures, take the slope of the road into account and plan to bring some material to make onsite adjustments and to allow you to level or anchor your structure(s).

Curb Height. The curb varies between 6 and 8 inches above the level of the street. A seamless transition between the curb and your PARK is not necessary, but it can be used to the advantage or your PARK’s design.

Barriers. it is highly encouraged to incorporate a barrier between their PARK and the street. And, if your PARK is next to a parking space not designated for PARK(ing) Day, to add a barrier between your PARK and the space next to you. This increases your visibility to drivers, and helps visitors to your PARK feel safe.

2. Programming

Activities. PARK(ing) Day starts at 11am and ends at 6pm. Plan some type of activity in your PARK. That can be as simple as providing seating, books, arts & crafts, or board games. Plan for people to use your park, and give them something to do or talk about while they are there.

Handouts. There are restrictions for any signage, food, or promotional materials that can be distributed at PARK(ing) Day. Please see our 2015 Participant Handbook for a detailed description. If you violate any of these policies, PARK(ing) Day staff will ask you to stop or remove your PARK.

Neighbors. Let us know what you plan to do! We have live entertainment lined up for the event. If you do not want your park next to loud noise or if you would prefer to be adjacent to another PARK(ing) Day participant, let us know. We will do our best to accommodate you.

3. Materials

Cost. Creating a PARK can take both time and a money. The good thing is, you get to determine how much time and money you are willing to invest in your PARK. Set your budget early, to help you make good decisions in the planning and building process.

Recycle and reuse. Ways to reduce cost and make building your PARK easier are to use materials you already have sitting around, look for salvaged materials, and ask for donations. Since this is a one day event, have a plan for your materials after the event is over. Either reuse the materials or structures for something else, or plan on returning them to the original donors.

Think light. Large or heavy structures will be difficult to set-up, and even more exhausting to take down. We advise only using parts that 2 individuals can lift.

4. Setting Up Your Park

Transporting your PARK. To make set-up easy for you and your neighboring PARKs, plan to bring all of your materials in one car/truck load. The street will not be closed before, during or after the event and there will be normal weekday traffic.

Unloading. Do NOT block traffic to unload your materials. Pull into a parking space adjacent to your assigned PARK, and get your materials out of your vehicle as quickly (and safely) as possible. Once everything is unloaded, move your vehicle so that other PARKS can unload as well.

Assembly. Once your car/truck is stored elsewhere, begin assembling your park. Practice assembling your park before the PARK(ing) Day. This will let you know how many people and what tools you need to bring with you.

5. Taking Down Your Park

Disassembly. Practice this before the event as well! You should consider incorporating storage for the tools you need to disassemble your PARK into the PARK design so that you have what you need on hand for repairs throughout the day.

Loading. To reiterate, Main Street will not be closed to traffic during or after the event. If you are using a vehicle to transport your materials away from the event, you may need to pull into your own parking space to load materials. You can also coordinate with your neighboring PARKs to make loading easy. Do NOT block traffic to load your car/truck.

Clean-up. Leave no trace of your PARK in the parking space. Bring shovels, brooms, gloves, trash bags and whatever else you may need to pick up after your PARK.

6. Weather

PARK(ing) Day is an outdoor event, and will take place rain or shine. Be sure to watch the weather forecast for September 18th and take it into consideration.

To reserve your PARK(ing) spot, register for PARK(ing) Day Dallas 2015 here! Our first participant meeting is Thursday, August 6th at City Tavern! We look forward to meeting you and having a blast this September. For any questions or concerns about PARK(ing) Day Dallas 2015, please contact us.

PARK(ing) Day Dallas [Infographic]

PARKing Day 2015 Info


PARK(ing) Day Dallas Recap [2013]

On Friday, September 20th heavy rain storms swept through the area. Despite weather challenges PARK(ing) Day Dallas organizers we were able to locate some tents and continue with a smaller, modified setup along Main Street. While several of the delicate, temporary displays created by participating teams could not be displayed, some teams were able to brave the elements to celebrate PARK(ing) Day on the street.  We all struggled to keep dry and the streets remained quiet for most of the day. We appreciate the contributions of all participants (even if they were unable to set up their installation).

While some of the great plans for this year were dampened (such as an outdoor classroom, artist galleries, reading libraries, and outdoor museums) it didn’t stop visitors from playing in a swing park or dogs enjoying their special space. A number of educational displays highlighted the need for public space, and local musicians were showcased under coverings at Pegasus Plaza and City Tavern.

Thanks to all our participants, those that made an appearance (listed below), special volunteers and community sponsors! We hope to see you in 2014!

  • Architecture for Humanity
  • City of Dallas / Downtown Dallas Inc
  • City of Dallas Office of Environmental Quality
  • City of Dallas Waste Diversion
  • DogFit Dallas/Designed By Nature
  • Downtown Pawz
  • Environmental Protection Agency, Region 6
  • MESA
  • metroARTS Corporation
  • Nasher Sculpture Center
  • Omniplan Architects
  • patrickm02L
  • Soap Creative
  • Studio Outside
  • SWA Group
  • Which Wich Superior Sandwiches
  • World Wear Project

CLICK HERE to View photos from the 2013 event.

Fun at PARK(ing) Day Dallas

Happy PARK(ing) Day [2013]

Around the world today citizens are transforming parking spaces into parks to create dialogue about urban public space and have fun with neighbors. Today marks the third year PARK(ing) Day has been celebrated in downtown Dallas, and we have a great diversity of participants and entertainment lined up. Despite a few last-minute adjustments (due to the weather), the festivities will continue on Main Street from 11:00am to 7:00pm.  The map below shows an overview of activities that are planned (click to enlarge).


Click here to view our EVENT PAGE with all of the day’s participants and entertainment details. We hope to see you out on Main Street. And don’t forget to join us for the PARK(ing) Day Dallas after-party at City Tavern from 7:00pm-9:00pm.


Parking Day Dallas 2013 Promo 2 from patrickm02L on Vimeo.

Downtown Dallas adding dozens of parks on Friday

Annual event will temporarily transform parking spaces into community space

In cities around the globe on Friday, September 20, 2013 artists, activists and citizens will temporarily transform metered parking spaces into public parks and other social spaces as part of an annual event called “PARK(ing) Day.” The event is intended to promote social interaction, civic engagement, critical thinking, and creativity through individual generosity and play.

For the third year Dallas area residents will transform permitted on-street parking spaces into nearly 50 miniature parks. Stretching several blocks along Main Street (between Field Street and St Paul Street) in downtown Dallas, participants will challenge the meaning of public space in an urban area. Visitors are encouraged to learn, play and interact within these spaces from 11:00am to 7:00pm. A Recycled Fashion Show will start the day at Pegasus Plaza (11:00am), and City Tavern will host the PARK(ing) Day after-party from 7:00pm–9:00pm.

PARK(ing) Day Dallas participants include: 1900 Elm Lofts; AIGA DFW; Architecture for Humanity; Art Conspiracy; Artistry By Gerard Claiborne; Beacon Montessori; City of Dallas Street Services; City of Dallas / Downtown Dallas Inc.; City of Dallas Office of Environmental Quality; City of Dallas Waste Diversion; Corgan Associates Inc.; Dallas Center for Architecture; Dallas Holocaust Museum; Dallas Public Library; DogFit Dallas/Designed By Nature; Downtown Pawz; Environmental Protection Agency, Region 6; Erica Guajardo Illustrations; Feet First & Hair; Freshii; HKS; Jomae Productions; Manzanita Sol; MESA; metroARTS Corporation; Nasher Sculpture Center; Omniplan Architects; patrickm02L; Soap Creative; Studio Outside; Sunnyland Furniture; SWA Group; The University of Texas at Arlington Program in Landscape Architecture; Urban Armadillos/Preservation Dallas; Volunteer Center of North Texas; Which Wich Superior Sandwiches; and World Wear Project.

PARK(ing) Day is a free public event directed by community volunteers. Musical entertainment organized by Deep Dallas Music will showcase local entertainers in three performance areas and includes: Friday’s Foolery; Sugarfoote & Company; Signals and Alibis; Eddie Lott; Mike Freiley; The BoomBachs; Mary Harvey; Felix Flores; The Rhythm and Beards; Tony Rey; Joel Wells; Ann Stover; and Pearl Street Riot.

A full list of sponsors, participants and event details can be found here.

Participant orientation meeting on Tuesday, September 10

Join us for the PARK(ing) Day Dallas orientation meeting on Tuesday, September 10th from 6:30pm-8:00pm. All registered participants should plan to attend to learn about space assignments and event details. The information discussed will be helpful in ensuring our setup and schedule runs smoothly on September 20th. This will also be an opportunity for new participants to ask questions and hear about team plans. Neighborhood sponsor Union Park will host our meeting in the back room of their establishment. For those participants unable to attend, please send us a note so we can be sure to send important event details.

Volunteers not registered to transform a space will meet separately on September 16th.


PARK(ing) Day to showcase pop-up parks in Dallas

Friday, September 20th has been declared International PARK(ing) Day, and for the third year Dallas area citizens will celebrate by transforming downtown’s parking spaces into miniature parks. The event is intended to promote social interaction, civic engagement, critical thinking, and creativity through individual generosity and play. Utilizing permitted on-street parking spaces, citizens are challenged to create welcoming parks that propose or demonstrate non-commercial ideas for the City’s smaller public spaces. Temporary in nature, these colorful spaces revert back to vehicle parking after several hours. In 2012 Dallas participated with over 50 parks including a yoga space, dog park, outdoor art gallery and reading lounge. This year PARK(ing) Day will take place in over 35 countries worldwide on the same day.

PARK(ing) Day Dallas 2013 focuses on parking space transformations along Main Street between Field Street and St Paul Street, along with other areas of downtown Dallas. Activities will begin with a ribbon cutting at 11:00am at Pegasus Plaza and continue until 7:00pm. A PARK(ing) Day after-party for participants and guests will continue activities at centrally-located City Tavern from 7:00–9:00pm.

A popular component of the event is free entertainment showcasing local musicians througout the day. Organized by Deep Dallas Music, scheduled entertainers include Sugarfoote & Company, The BoomBachs, Eddie Lott, Pearl Street Riot, Joel Wells, Mike Freiley, Mary Harvey, Tony Rey and Ann Stover. Musicians wanting to be involved can send an email to [email protected].

There is no charge to participate and local businesses, organizations and individuals are encouraged to complete online registration by Tuesday, September 10th. The event is completely organized by volunteers
and relies on sponsorships from the community. A full list of sponsors, participants and event details can be found here.