Reader: What's the worst place to read a book? A Kmart.

Recognizing that libraries are going to need to rethink their missions in order to remain relevant, the Aurora Public Library opened computer centers at the city's Moorhead and Beck Recreation Centers earlier this year. Last month, it added a public computer center, featuring eleven computers with web availability, in front of the store checkout at the Kmart Super Center at 15200 East Colfax Avenue. Not only can people access the computers, but they can use any of the library's other services here, even returning and picking up books -- yes, books. And a staffer is on hand to answer any questions.

This may be one of the first big-box library computer centers in the country, but not everyone appreciates this thinking-outside-the-box approach.

Says Robert Chase:

Brilliant! What would be the ugliest, most distracting, least congenial place to read a book? Inside a Kmart.

We could think of worse places to read a book -- and worse uses of Kmart, for that matter. And the Aurora Public Library isn't done: In late August, a similar but larger computer and youth-oriented center will open at the former Hoffman Heights library location at Peoria Street and 14th Avenue.

What do you think of Aurora's moves? Post your thoughts below.

For more memorable takes, visit our Comment of the Day archive.

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My Voice Nation Help

I think the movement to put computers and library sources in areas that are more accessible to all demographics of the population is a bold and brilliant move by Aurora's Library.  Especially since we know from research that low income or less educated families are less likely to take a trip to the library.  Their children in turn get less exposure to books, and then lag behind their peers in literacy at school.

Anything we can do to enable access to books for busy or struggling families can be nothing but positive.

Robert Chase, if you don't like visiting Kmart, then don't.  Just go to the library branch.  But for kids who otherwise wouldn't have access to books except for while their parents are shopping, don't spoil it for them.

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