Could Public Libraries Become The Next Coworking Locations?


We Asked This Before here at LISNews, and now center networks is asking
Could Public Libraries Become The Next Coworking Locations?

Many of the libraries I’ve been in have plenty of empty space that can be used for coworking. Sure we would have to discuss how the logistics would work since the library is a place where we must be quiet but we can work out all of the details if the concept is solid. Startups that work in the library would pay for the space and this revenue could amount to a figure that helps the bottom line for these starving libraries.


some municipalities have unique public library budgeting systems built on donations or trusts, so they could probably allow for outside groups to rent library space, but we can't.

if we began to charge for library meeting space, then we would no longer meet our mission of serving the public since some of the publilc would be better than others.

also, whatever "empty" space these bloggers have seen in other libraries doesn't exist in our library. unless you count the time when we're closed to the public.

our public library would have to rewrite all sorts of policies to allow outside groups to pay to use our space that it would take years and we'd still end up in court because we turned down some group who claimed their money was just as good as someone else's (NAMBLA working on creating their own social networking site, perhaps?).

but some libraries might be able to do it. but what's even better is other small businesses... why can't some struggling storefront create some office space in the back and rent it out?

clearly, I don't understand what this "coworking" trend is supposed to be because I would think that there would be tons of places for 2-3 people to meet and work together for a few hours. but maybe not. maybe these people have asked and no one is willing to part with their precious square footage, so they are coming to us.

whatever the reason, our mission won't allow for us to give anyone or any group special treatment just because they wave a few greenbacks.

I might let them use my car and run their electrical equipment out of the lighter, as long as they run the engine every half hour to keep the battery charged, but as a poorly paid librarian, I already live out of my car. And yes, those are my underpants drying on the back seat.

I love it when I show up to make a comment and somebody's already built a solid case for why the hipster idea du jour is batshit whack. Marry me?

Dear people,
I'm a little bit amazed about the objections. In the public library of Utrecht they made the second floor a meeting place with internetpc's and wifi-area. You can als read the latest magazines and papers and drink a Starbucklook-alike coffee. It is really very pleasant and yes, it also sometimes a little bit noisy but most of the people come here to read, to surf and to relax. The library has got more readers / subscribers now and it is still increasing, while before the number of readers was decreasing. And it has also made the library more accessable for people who don't like to read much but love to surf. The new public library of Amsterdam has even a restaurant in the building and some meeting spaces and both are very well occupied because the fee for renting a meeting space is low in comparison with more commercial meeting spaces. This library has also seen a huge increase of borrowers / subscribers. When you are satisfied about the amount of readers / subscribers who visit your library well may be you don't have to change, yet, but young people like to interact with each other in surroundings which are up to web 2.0.

Add new comment

Plain text

  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.