With so many choices for coworking memberships it can be easy to overlook one of the most obvious and rewarding services for coworking, the public library, and it’s free! You can compare coworking memberships like you’re on the hunt for a brand new car, what features do you want, what features do you need? What will that cost you per month? But, from East Coast to West Coast, you’ll always find a public library and you don’t have to be a member to enjoy their space.
I use a combo. I have a coworking membership with Spacious which operates out of New York and now San Francisco. I also love parking my laptop at a pubic library whether I’m traveling or home.
First, a bit about Spacious
As someone who’s location independent, I have the flexibility to work from anywhere on the globe. All I need is WiFi, space to focus and a simple workspace. I LOVE how Spacious approaches the concept of the flexible workspace. Spacious creates partnerships with restaurants who don’t open until dinner service. While that space is vacant, Spacious members get the benefit of sitting in a beautiful venue with great WiFi, plenty of tea, coffee, and an authentic welcoming guest experience. You can work out of a Spacious location from 8am until 4 or 5PM, depending on the location. Some restaurants offer a simple lunch menu and members are welcome to bring in outside food. You can reward yourself after a productive day with Happy Hour, a great transition when you’re at a location like Finn Town in San Francisco, CA.
Wherever you go, there’s a library near you
While I enjoy going to a coffee shop, (hello Java Beach Café in San Francisco, CA) I don’t want to take up space at coffee shops when I need to get a chunk of work done.
These small businesses rely on the flow of paying customers who often want a place to sit. When I know I want to get a solid block of work in, I’ll use a blend of coworking space and public library during any given week, depending on where I’m at. When I’m traveling, it’s a real treat to set foot into history when I need to go behind the screen. Below is a snapshot of the libraries I enjoyed this year.
The Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, New York, New York
When I’m in New York City I use Spacious locations but if I plan to be around Midtown Manhattan, I can’t help visit the grandeur of the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, the main branch New York Public Library at 478 5th Avenue.
The Port Jefferson Public Library, Port Jefferson, New York
My parents live on Long Island, New York near Port Jefferson Harbor. When I’m visiting family, I’ll go to the historic Port Jefferson Library. There’s the airy colonial Reading Room or the Garden Room with rows of single desks installed. All come fitted with lights and outlets to charge multiple devices.
The Boston Public Library, Main Branch, Central Library in Copley Square
The Boston Public Library on 700 Boylston Street is spectacular. The BPL “…was the first large free municipal library in the United States.” Go visit! You’ll be amazed at the incredible architecture and marble work, the Renaissance style design of the Boston Public Library Courtyard, and the spectacular Reading Room at Bates Hall will ease just about anyone into their reading seat.
Have tea at the Boston Public Library, or relax with a croissant and coffee all reasonably priced.
Stop in the Courtyard of the Boston Public Library, relax and sit at a table or enjoy music during the summer. Check their calendar for updates.
The West Coast, and a Library by the Sea
Live Oaks Public Library, Santa Cruz, CA
I’m a native New Yorker and thrive from the energy of New York City. On the flip side, I’m fascinated by the California Coast and obsessed with the Pacific’s dramatic coastline.
The Live Oak Public Library in Santa Cruz, CA is located off Corcoran Lagoon which looks out to the beach and the Pacific Ocean. It’s a small library with nooks to park your laptop next to beautiful views out to the Lagoon and the beach. There’s the large bright and airy Reading Room with a spectacular design that gives visitors a sweeping view out towards the sea.
There’s a Public Library is Right Under Your Nose
Visit a public library and you’ll get a sense of local culture and community. Take a moment to appreciate the resources available to members, from job training and children’s reading programs, tech classes and workshops, to live music and free museum tickets. Get to know the role of the public library in education and you’ll have a new appreciation for a city’s history.
Once upon a time not so long ago Forbes published and quickly retracted a contributor’s opinion stating public libraries were obsolete. The author of that opinion piece is the one that’s obsolete because these public libraries are here to stay.