Libraries as the next pop culture wave? Embedded coffee shops help

On NPR’s Monkey See blog, Linda Holmes posits that after the cupcake and bacon crazes have played out, libraries will fill the void.

Call it a hunch, but it seems to me that the thing is in the air that happens right before something — families with a million kids, cupcakes, wedding coordinators — suddenly becomes the thing everyone wants to do happy-fuzzy pop-culture stories about. Why?

Holmes goes on to list her reasons why libraries – now thought of by many people as relics of a bygone age when people read the printed word on squashed trees – will soon be hot, hot, hot. Excerpt:

Libraries are green and local. This is where there’s a lot of potential appeal for the same people who like organic produce and reusable grocery bags…

Libraries will give you things for free. Hi, have you noticed how much hardcover books cost? Not a Netflix person? They will hand you things for free. That’s not an especially hard concept to sell…

Holmes’ is really just making an argument that libraries are pretty awesome. Which they are. Speaking of which, have you seen the remodeled Ramsey County Library in Roseville that opened earlier this month?

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The library closed for renovation in 2008. $18 million later, it’s twice the size and all environmentally friendly. The first floor has separate rooms for children and teens, as well as a collection of movies and music that looks like a retail operation:

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On the second floor, scads of books. Yep, even brand new libraries have books. We’re not talking about the “e” variety here.

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These days, however, libraries are as much about providing computers and Internet access to their communities, and there’s no shortage of computers at the Roseville library. They’re everywhere.

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Roseville also implemented an $850,000 check-out system using RFID technology. It’s supposed to make check-out faster, in theory anyway. Not interested in free access to computers, books, CDs, DVDs, magazine and books in a gorgeous new space? Well then, there’s always the coffee shop attached to the library.

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  • Kim E

    I love my library and my library card!

  • Sara

    Don’t forget the free A/C, either!