As Co-working Increases, Library Provides Space and Expertise

Posted on January 24, 2020

by Library News

People who access co-working companies such as WeWork pay hundreds of dollars per month to use shared workspaces. There is a better solution! At Toledo Lucas County Public Library, a world of office resources is already available for free.

Co-working, in which contributors from different companies work in a shared space, has gained popularity among freelancers and entrepreneurs. In one program, WeWork users pay for an open spot in a common area, bringing their laptops to work alongside others. This type of collaborative site has long been a Library staple.

It’s important for the Library to reflect the community, and update its offerings to meet community needs. People are working differently now.
Meg Delaney
Main Library manager

Each of the Library’s 20 locations has meeting rooms and independent study areas. There are spaces suiting a customer’s needs of the moment, from complete silence to bustling activity. The aim is to support people as the nature of work changes.

Meg Delaney, Main Library manager, said renovations to Main Library recognize this shift. There are now outlets for electronic devices at all customer tables, and a vastly improved WiFi connection. Community rooms feature smartboards and shared screens. Business incubation thrives at the on-site Work Space.

“It’s important for the Library to reflect the community, and update its offerings to meet community needs. People are working differently now,” Delaney said. “We’re always looking and listening for the way people use our spaces.”

Mike Graybeal, director of operations and deputy fiscal officer, said the prevalence of personal technology means this approach is even more imperative. The Library supports customers with exposure to technology and individualized instruction.

Delaney noted one other key Library benefit is personalized expertise. Librarians are available to help navigate the vast amounts of resources available. It’s a feature that private co-working spaces lack.

“There is someone to help with any topic you are exploring,” Delaney said. “Whether it’s a group of students at a Library table after school, or the person working alone in a study room, we’re here to help answer their questions.”

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