Maybe it was Andrew Carnegie who said libraries are a "poor man's university." I'm not sure who said it, but whomever it was, he (or she) was correct.
So Rox Laird at the Des Moines Register has a very good editorial on that community's library taking up residence in a large mall. You can read about it here.
It's a novel idea (if you'll pardon a pun). Imagine a Rushmore Mall with a branch library in one of those empty store fronts. Imagine a community where kids on skateboards would be welcome at the public library; a library where kids are encouraged to hang out – outside and inside. Imagine a library where lockers are available for kids' skateboards and backpacks.
Rapid City has a beautiful library. Wouldn't it be cool if some of those gray-haired "university" students within, would encourage those on the lawn outside to join them inside?
Having a branch in the mall might be an interesting experience. Hot Topix, Spenser's Gifts, The Buckle, The Library. Maybe something within those walls might rub off on the kids in the mall.