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Pratt Digital Exhibits

The Children's Reading Room and Library Park

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In addition to a museum and a library school, the library had a dedicated Children’s Room, known for it’s Friday evening reading hour. The Children’s Porch was added in 1912, providing a special entrance into the Children’s Room that allowed young readers direct access from the Library “Playground.” Currently, the former children’s room serves as the library’s main entrance and circulation desk and library still holds a children’s book collection, which mainly serves the population of students pursing studies in illustration and children’s literature.

The Library Park took up most of the block between Ryerson and Hall Streets, and DeKalb and Willoughby Avenues, though row houses and other residences remained at the ends of the block along DeKalb and Willoughby Avenues. By 1915, only the rows houses at Willoughby still stood and the park was given an iron fence with brick and granite posts along Ryerson Street. Early photographs show a low, metal fence along Ryerson and a taller fence along Hall. The children’s playground was renovated as the Library Park in 1919, and planted with rock maple, beech, linden, and sweet gum. The fencing along Ryerson was upgraded in 1924 and 1925, when ornate gates were installed to enter the Library Park. These upgraded gates were eventually removed in 1960, signaling the end of the Library Park. Nevertheless, Pratt’s gates remain open to the public and children and their caretakers are regularly seen enjoying the campus grounds.

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