Libraries Learn to Raise Revenues

PALM COAST, Florida -- These days it seems everybody's trying to make a buck, including public libraries.

And library officials are coming up with some creative ways to do just that, such as handling passport applications and adding merchandise sales and cafes. Long-range plans at the Flagler County Library in Palm Coast call for creating an inviting atmosphere for patrons, with a coffee shop serving as the centerpiece. Officials also hope leasing floor space to a vendor will provide a little extra cash for the library.

"We want people to be relaxed and feeling good," said library director Holly Albanese. "People like to have a cup of coffee when they sit and read the newspaper or the first chapter of a book. We want them to be able to do that here."

Incorporating a casual café into the traditional public library mission of lending books, providing meeting rooms and offering classes to the public is part of a national trend, according to a study by the Primary Research Group, a private marketing company.

"Even the places that don't currently have one (a café) are looking to do it in the future," said Marcia Warner, president of the Public Library Association, a division of the American Library Association. "We're kind of johnnys-come-lately. Museums have been doing this for a lot of years."

More ideas for selling your library at the Lib Success Wiki.

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