Posted by: bluesyemre | September 22, 2014

The Public Library Wants To Be Your Office


  • It’s 9:45 on a Monday morning, and Jonathan Marino has just arrived at his tech startup in D.C.’s Chinatown neighborhood. The 30-year-old director of content for Map Story–which aims to be the Wikipedia of interactive maps–greets his two interns with a huge smile, joins them at an open table tucked inside a glass-walled pod, and fires up his laptop. Hunched over their computers, the group looks like any other early-stage startup, with one key distinction–their “office” is merely a meeting area inside Washington, D.C.’s main public library. Home to nearly 784 million printed books, U.S. public libraries aren’t just a place to peruse them in silence anymore. Over the past decade, dozens of reading rooms have been reincarnated as de facto coworking spaces. Some, including D.C.’s Digital Commons and Scottsdale, Arizona’s Eureka Loft, cater expressly to startups by helping them find funding, mentors, and other resources to advance their business plans. Others take a laissez-faire approach geared more toward solo artists seeking a no-frills space. Altogether, more than half of all public libraries now offer workspaces for mobile workers, according to a new study from the Information Policy & Access Center.

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