The public library: Am I missing somthing?

I find this Wall Street Journal online article interesting, so I copy the entire article following some short quotes.  The entire article titled “Metro Money: Growing Number of New Yorkers Are Using the Library for Office Space;
Local branches respond with quiet rooms, laptop bars, charging and coffee cafes” by Anne Kadet, April 17, 2015: http://www.wsj.com/articles/metro-money-growing-number-of-new-yorkers-are-using-the-library-for-office-space-1429301421?mod=WSJ_hps_sections_smallbusiness.

Short quotes:

His colleagues, it seems, are legion. Long a sanctuary for students, seniors and oddballs, the city’s (New York City) libraries say they’ve been seeing more freelancers lately. And they’ve responded by installing quiet rooms, laptop bars, charging stations and yes, cafes for caffeine junkies.

“We wanted to provide a dignified space where people could say, ‘Yes, I look at this as my office,’ ” says Jesse Montero, manager of information services for the Brooklyn Public Library.

Some branches make better work spots than others, of course. I love the friendly vibe at my personal office, the Carroll Gardens Library, with its chatty eccentrics and goofy kids. But others prefer a more professional atmosphere. I asked the city’s three library systems to recommend the best spots for workers.

The most impressive may be the Brooklyn Central Library’s information commons. Anyone with a library card can book a conference room for a meeting. There are 10 27-inch iMacs equipped with Pro Tools, Illustrator and Final Cut Pro. There’s even a digital recording studio.

… I prefer working in the branch’s three-story atrium, which features excellent people-watching and a cafe with a coffee menu to rival Starbucks—not to mention pastries baked on premises, and, of course, kale salad. The service is leisurely and the line is long, adding to the authentic Brooklyn cafe experience.

Entire article

By ANNE KADET
April 17, 2015 4:10 p.m. ET
2 COMMENTS
App designer Jay Collins loves his free office space. The building features fireplaces, hardwood floors, oversize windows and oak bookcases. The Wi-Fi is excellent. The research facilities, superb.

The location? Staten Island’s Port Richmond Library.

“I usually find myself in the teen room, because no one’s ever in there,” says Mr. Collins.

The 32-year-old, who schleps his laptop and iPad to the library four days a week, says he has tried other options, “but once I found the library, I didn’t have to stay home being lazy, or at Starbucks getting fat.”

The library may lack the cachet of a rented desk at a pricey co-working space, but as Mr. Collins discovered, the stacks even offer networking opportunities. He has landed side jobs designing logos for fellow entrepreneurs, not to mention a gig designing a clown suit for a professional jester.

His colleagues, it seems, are legion. Long a sanctuary for students, seniors and oddballs, the city’s libraries say they’ve been seeing more freelancers lately. And they’ve responded by installing quiet rooms, laptop bars, charging stations and yes, cafes for caffeine junkies.

“We wanted to provide a dignified space where people could say, ‘Yes, I look at this as my office,’ ” says Jesse Montero, manager of information services for the Brooklyn Public Library.

Some branches make better work spots than others, of course. I love the friendly vibe at my personal office, the Carroll Gardens Library, with its chatty eccentrics and goofy kids. But others prefer a more professional atmosphere. I asked the city’s three library systems to recommend the best spots for workers.

The most impressive may be the Brooklyn Central Library’s information commons. Anyone with a library card can book a conference room for a meeting. There are 10 27-inch iMacs equipped with Pro Tools, Illustrator and Final Cut Pro. There’s even a digital recording studio.

One afternoon, the sleek, stylish hall was packed with a good-looking crowd of laptop jockeys. In one of the seven glass-enclosed meeting rooms, a tutor read to her student who, judging by his posture, may have been dead. In another, a man in a purple vest gesticulated wildly to an audience of no one.

I had to circle the laptop tables like a vulture for a good long while before I found a seat. It’s a bit of a squeeze. I accidentally unplugged my neighbor’s laptop every time I shifted my leg. And it was hard to get settled in the stiff-backed chair.

This, it turns out, is intentional. “It’s meant to be a rigorous space,” says Mr. Montero. “The chairs aren’t meant to be the most comfortable seats in the world.”

Despite the wondrous amenities, I didn’t stay long. The place has no windows; it feels like a Danish modern submarine.

I prefer working in the branch’s three-story atrium, which features excellent people-watching and a cafe with a coffee menu to rival Starbucks—not to mention pastries baked on premises, and, of course, kale salad. The service is leisurely and the line is long, adding to the authentic Brooklyn cafe experience.

The Queens Library recommended its Flushing branch, located at the end of the 7 line in the heart of the city’s most overwhelming Chinatown. Welcoming 5,500 patrons a day, this place is said to be the busiest library in the state—if not the nation.

Luckily, there’s a dedicated quiet room, plus teen and children’s rooms, keeping the buzz to a low din. And while this is a library where patrons chat freely on their cellphones, it isn’t so distracting because they’re mostly speaking Chinese.

Beyond the 36-seat computer farm with printers and endless sea of laptop tables, this library lacks the gee-whiz amenities of the Brooklyn Central Library. But you can’t beat the space. It looks like a high-end art museum, spacious and airy, with lots of potted plants. Natural light floods the sheer glass facade with its gauzy white curtains—a perfect environment for reading. This may be the snazziest space you’ve ever called your office.

If it’s quiet you’re craving, perhaps no branch takes the mission as seriously as the 67th Street Library on the Upper East Side. Manager Rebecca Dash Donsky says patron requests lead to the creation of a noise-proof room on the garden level. The place is monitored by volunteers who enforce the rules. “The demand for quiet has grown as we’ve become a noisier society,” she says.

The space feels a bit like a rectory basement with its motley assortment of antique furniture, plastic flowers, linoleum tile and Georgian windows overlooking the library garden.

The quiet (and the Wi-Fi) extends to the back patio, which features yellow daffodils, forsythia, a bird bath and a hapless cherub missing all four appendages.

Overseeing the room one afternoon was Roberto Cristoforo, a culinary agent who does his work in the library and doubles as a volunteer monitor, shushing chatty interlopers.

“We’re strict,” says Mr. Cristoforo. “No whispering, no eating.”

And the crowd? A student attacked his textbooks with a highlighter. A man with a yellow slicker thumbed furiously through a stack of phone books. A prim-looking writer pecked her laptop with manic intensity.

“People who go to a co-working space or Starbucks want to socialize,” said Mr. Cristoforo. “Here, you can’t.”

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s