8 Great Reasons to Co-Work in a Library

Laura Marie

Staff Writer

Laura Marie is a writer and teacher in Ohio. She reads one or two audiobooks every week, loves falling into a good cooking memoir, and debates feasibility of tech from sci-fi books with her husband.

The news keeps reporting back on the gig economy and the ways in which working remotely is becoming an increasingly available option. With more and more jobs that are focused primarily on having a laptop and access to an electrical outlet, it is no wonder that people are seeking out the best spot they can find for a change of scenery from working on the couch.

For book lovers, there is no better place to work remotely than in the local public library. Even a fellow Rioter has commented on how the trend of “co-working spaces” actually fits what public libraries have been for ages. Here are eight reasons why working from my public library fills me with a lot of bookish joy and inspiration.

Why you should consider co-working in a library. co-working | libraries | libraries as co-working spaces | third places

Why Use a Public Library as a Co-Working Space

  1. Public libraries are equalizers; a lot of people who have limited access to the internet use the public library to access the many government and business items that have gone exclusively online in the past few years. Supporting your public library, even just by being one of the heads they count to prove how busy they are, is a serious move toward supporting those in your community who need the help.
  2. It’s free! Co-working spaces are often pricey, especially if you opt to have a “reserved desk” or a whole reserved office just for yourself. Save that money and roll it back into your business; you can also use that money to become a Friend of the Library or to buy a big stack of books at the library’s yearly book sale.
  3. Whether your remote work is creative or not, you’ll benefit from being near creative resources. When your work is rote and fairly dull, you may enjoy taking a break to browse the shelves and “wake up” a little from the task at hand. If your work is creative, the books around you will prime the pump, per se. It can be truly inspiring to see the creative finished products of others all around you, cheering you on metaphorically.
  4. Taking meetings in a library has never been easier. In the past, libraries were kingdoms of silence, maybe, but now most libraries have embraced distinctions: areas for total silence, areas for warm chatter, and everything in between. If you want to be able to take a meeting, either on your phone or in person, aim for a spot in the loudest area of the library, though maybe avoid the children’s area during events, since that area might actually be too loud for your purposes.
  5. Form connections at the library. The other people who go to the library or work there may have information that helps you build community or find your new friend circle. Working remotely can be lonely when it really means “working alone at home,” and getting to know people can boost your spirits in ways that result in better work too.
  6. Get new books first! Not that you will have books reserved for you, of course. This just means that being someone who comes to the library more often than average means you’ll see that book you’ve been wanting to read on the shelf a little earlier than you’d see it otherwise.
  7. Once you’ve tried it, you’ll see that libraries often provide a wealth of extra services you may not have known about. First, they tend to have per-page printers and copiers, saving you on expenses if you don’t need these very often. Also, they tend to have a variety of digital services, from language learning software to grant-writing resources, that you can explore in-depth with a librarian’s help.
  8. Combine co-working with volunteering! If your library has volunteer info desk workers, you can bring your lower-intensity work projects with you and do double-duty: answer questions when people come up, but work on your projects during slow periods. Your hours benefit your bottom line while also helping the library save money.