Went to the Canton Michigan Public Library this morning with some goals in mind. I wanted to work on homework, go to a meeting of a writers group, and just plain kill some time. I used to go to bookstores but all of them seem to be gone, unless I want to spend time and money getting to one that is many miles away. Lets see what I learned today.
This library is built well and is used bay many people. I made a comment on twitter days ago that libraries should recreate themselves like bookstores to succeed. This is as close as you can get. There are many areas to use both silently and as a group. Immediately you can see the fundamental difference between this and a bookstore however simply due to government control. There are signs everywhere warning you that you may be both video and audio recorded at any time. I suppose we should be used to it by now, but I don't know if I ever will be. There is a small cafe here that serves beverages and small food items. Would it be possible to lease this space to a company such as Seattle's Best, like the bookstores or is the current business model adequate for what people want? Are libraries able to serve the public as a government subsidized bookstore? I suppose if you seek a way to somewhat segregate a "commercial" side from the quiet side this could work. This library already sells used books in a little side area. Adding new books or other reading material could be easy, but is it even needed. Perhaps Amazon could just add kiosks in libraries and donate a percentage of sales, like the coffee shop. I should draw up a model for what I am thinking.
So, the meeting. One of the things about libraries is they tend to offer programs for the public to enjoy. If you click on their link above you will see that there were 5 events here today. I like reading a lot and and am one of the many that thought they would write someday. I realize I probably never will, but I thought I might learn something that would help me with even the limited writing a blog provides. I am afraid I probably won't improve my writing a lot, but thanks for reading it anyhow. The group was nice, well organised, and friendly. I may go back again, but no guarantees. I will be back to the library again though and next time maybe the violins will be playing at the front door again, that was nice.