Look Out Starbucks: Librarys No. 1 Want is Bigger Cafҩ
Theres no doubt the Westport Public Library, one of the busiest in the state, is high tech Җ plenty of computers and Internet access, including the wireless kind. But library officials say their biggest demand isnt technical Җ its for increased cafҩ space so patrons can talk over a cup of java one-on-one.
Thats a finding from a consultantҒs interviews, focus groups and surveys, according to Library Director Maxine Bleiweis.
Bleweis, preparing for a town meeting April 8 on the librarys future, told The Hour that changing times and changing trends require the library to re-examine its services and connections with the community frequently.
“We found out that the sense of community that we can reflect in this space is paramount,” she said. “The ability to find information on the Web had not replaced the need to come together.” The number one suggestion of those surveyed, Bleiweis said, has been for a bigger cafҩ area.
“We have a lot of individual spaces and spaces for large gatherings, but we don’t have anything in between for a casual conversation,” she said.
David Rubinstein, Westport Public Library board of trustees president, said the number of people who want a larger cafe area for casual conversation is overwhelming.
“People feel isolated and anxious during these hard times,” he said. “This is a special place for them where they can feel safe.”