I just learned of a restaurant in SE Portland called the Arleta Library Bakery Cafe. It appears to be indeed a bakery and cafe, but not a library. Their brunch is reportedly good. Sure, I’m interested in eating there but what intrigues me more is how the eatery uses the concept of “library” to convey not books, but quality, wholesomeness, and maybe even a reverent kitsch. Is this something we can use?
In a less abstract sense, are there any library sponsored spaces that are standalone cafes? A library could fulfill its mission to promote culture and community by opening a cafe for laptopping, renting meeting spaces, and hosting performances/art shows/movies. Taking it a step further, could you imagine the popularity of a neighborhood arcade where swipes of a library card are used instead of tokens? Don’t balk. This is essentially going on now in the libraries that haven’t banned Runescape.
I’m not suggesting that this model replace a main library or even a branch necessarily. However, it might make more sense to separate these functions into a distinct space rather than trying to squeeze different concepts into one place and making fewer people happy as a result.