What makes a Public Place? Work Space? Inviting Space? WiFi Space? Info Space?

A new Burger King opened in downtown South Bend last week that offers wireless Internet access to its patrons. BK joins the "major US chains offering WiFi" ranks with the McDonald's in Chicago I mentioned before as well as the old standbys: Borders, B&N, Starbucks and Panera Bread. If McDonalds has a conference area, Starbucks lets you check e-mail, surf and have great coffee (or a steaming Chai made with non-fat soy milk for me thank you very much), and now BK offers the same with burgers and fries....what can libraries or other meeting places/information commons offer? I've been pondering that the lines between library/cafe/commons/hang-out/coffee joint/food place seem really gray to me.

Every morning I try to hit Panera for 60-90 minutes of blog, surf and "pondering time" before work. I guess I've become a morning person. (It's 7:05 am right now!) This has really helped me meet the day of meetings, training sessions and work at SJCPL. I love this time and get more stuff done here than I do at my desk...

I wrote my book at Borders in the winter of 2000-2001.... It was a perfect place to concentrate.... Now, Panera with WiFi is even better... I wonder why?
Is it the appeal of WiFi?
Is it cool spaces? Phil Myrick, Project Manager for Project for Public Spaces, a non-profit organization that helps urban areas rebuild communities (Link ), was interviewed in American Libraries back in April. The article is  "How to Become a Great Public Space" and the TOC describes it this way: Want to attract more users? Marylaine Block interviews Fred Kent and Phil Myrick at the Project for Public Spaces, who suggest you look to your welcome mat.

More to follow...

Posted: Wed - July 23, 2003 at 06:33 PM