Recently I was reading Remote : Office not required by 37signals founders Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson. In this book they draw on 37signals’ experiences of establishing a culture of working remotely and highly recommend trying out this model for different kinds of work environment. They give some arguments for working remotely, some ideas of how to manage remote workers, how to live a life as a remote worker, as well as some tools for working remotely successfully.
One of the points they make is that working remotely doesn’t mean to work from home. Working remotely, instead, enables workers to “change the scenery as often as they like” and thus avoid falling for mind numbing routine. Among the options they list as such working spaces are coffee shops and, yes, libraries.
I must confess that I quite like this idea. In recent months I got used to work frequently in these kinds of open working spaces. (As opposed to rented working spaces.) However, I also have to admit that Starbucks and the like have one big selling point as open working spaces (next to the better coffee): they frequently offer free WiFi, whereas it is more difficult to get connected in (public) libraries when you are not a member.
And as long as you are not living permanently in the community, you have rarely the inclination to become a member of the library or enroll in college just to be allowed to connect your laptop to the internet.
Libraries should start working on this issue to become truly social spaces!