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Brew Up Some Bookmarks
Wake Up And Smell The Coffee

A growing trend in libraries is the inclusion of on-premises food and beverage service. This can be anything from a coffee pot on a hotplate to a full-service snack shop. Debates over the advantages (or disadvantages) of such services go on and on, but there is no denying that the availability of a caffeine booster shot or a quick nosh will make a library more attractive to patrons.

Detractors notwithstanding, success stories are sufficiently numerous and positive to brew up a strong cup of pro-food-and-beverage sentiment. A search of the LM&PR collection of library newsletters and "stuff that gets mailed to us" returns a double latté of such positive accounts. To wit:

  • The Alexandrian PL in Mt. Vernon, IN serves up coffee and munchies at Matilda's Mug and Muffin and reports that patrons and the public "are taking advantage of the pleasant atmosphere for a chance to chat, conduct business, or read." Matilda's is operated by the Friends of the Library.
  • Greenwich (CT) PL takes patrons to a Paris sidewalk café with a former basement room reborn with a multi-hued blue "sky," a red white and blue color scheme and outdoor theme lighting and furniture.
  • Patrons of the Newington (CT) Library who don't know a latté from a cappuccino can pick up a glossary of coffee terms and a "sipping selections" of selected coffee-friendly titles at the library's Cup & Chaucer café. The café is operated by the Friends. The library reports that the café is drawing new patrons who formerly would have visited the local "brand B" book store.
  • The Coffee and Cookies Cart is finding friends among the neighborhood's seniors while dispensing coffee, cookies and muffins at the Hershey (PA) PL. The library reports that the service has garnered positive media attention and the addition of a cappuccino maker is being contemplated.
  • Dunn Brothers Coffee Shop (http://www.ramsey.lib.mn.us/library/dunn.htm) in the Roseville (MN) Library signed a 5-year lease agreement with Dunn Brothers that paid the Library $41,000 in the first year and escalates by 5% in each of the next four years. The owner of the coffee shop says sales are meeting projections. Customer's comments have been overwhelmingly positive. The borrowing of books increased by 5% more than any other library in the system once the coffee shop opened. Visitor traffic also substantially increased. One of the initial staff concerns, spillage, has been almost non-existent.

The reports from caffeine-enabled libraries are overwhelmingly positive. Most find that they make some money from sales and virtually all emphasize that the service, however simple or elaborate, brings in new patrons and fosters an improved atmosphere in the library.

So if you are willing to "pour" some effort into, and "espress(o)" yourself in, a beverage and munchie service, we have provided something to start you off on the "ground" floor. We are pleased to serve up another classic set of bookmarks—the LM&PR Hot Cup 'O Java Series (7 designs, 4-up, letter-size, Acrobat format). awakeatthelibrary.pdf (603 KB)


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