In large, polluted, hot cities, children and teenagers spend a lot of time in cool, clean shopping malls, roaming the hallways, surrounded by things to buy and fast food. In Bangkok, where shopping malls are large, extravagant consumer palazzos, one of the largest and most frequented of these contains—a library! And not just a library, but a Thai Knowledge Park.
On the eighth floor of Central World Plaza, surrounded by skyscrapers and air that is tarnished by some of the world’s worst traffic, is a place that brings books and the internet and music and movies and the performing arts all together in one huge and alluring space. Over 30,000 books in Thai and in English are temptingly displayed, and reading areas are imaginative and enticing. A reading wall with window-like alcoves makes an instant refuge for browsers, and a spiral staricase leads to a small, book-lined room that has the feeling of a treehouse, with additional circular alcoves where young readers can–and do– relax .
Paper and pencils wait at low tables for young artists to use, and a room with a piano lured a young musician who left his tennis racket and school books on a nearby chair while he made music. Improvising from classical and jazz elements, without one false note, he filled the room with sounds that floated into the library’s reading area like a melodic dream.
Patterned after the world’s “living libraries” , TK Park makes reading and learning as irresistible as a visit to a shopping center! Open from 10 a.m. until 8 p.m. six days a week, with a full calendar of events from IT workshops to music recitals to movies to story hours, this is a place that gives more conventional mall entertainment options a run for their money.