The public library is the new WeWork
The Future. Sorry, WeWork. Coworking is upgrading to an old-school option, public libraries. They are quickly providing the space, amenities, and ethos to create a valuable workspace and a communal hub that keeps people socially connected in an increasingly isolated world. But without the proper support and funding, the library makeover may just be another good idea that doesn’t reach its full potential.
With libraries prevalent in cities, suburbs, and small towns, Insider thinks they have the opportunity to become a perfect network of coworking hubs.
- Libraries in cities like Spokane, Akron, and Columbia are turning into bonafide community centers that can handle several aspects of remote-work life, adding business centers, recording studios, and meeting rooms.
- During COVID shutdowns, libraries offered drive-up internet access so that people could always have a dedicated broadband connection if they didn’t have one at home.
- Google partnered with the Library Association of America on Libraries Serving Businesses, a program that gave $2 million to 13 library networks last year to beef up amenities.
That’s not to say that libraries are totally prepared for entrepreneurs, freelancers, and remote workers everywhere to march in with their laptops. Melanie Huggins, president of the Public Library Association, notes that smaller libraries may not have the space, resources, or staff to handle such an influx.
Also, snacks. If libraries are to become the coworking spaces of the future, don’t just allow them, but reap the benefits by just opening a coffee shop inside. We all know it’s worked wonders for Barnes & Noble.