You see, people need separate places to do different activities — and I'm not just talking about work and sleep. Allow me to introduce you to a concept of third places and how they make public libraries an even more necessary place to spend your time.
According to an article in Psychology Today, "Third places are where people congregate other than work or home. England has pubs, France has cafés, and Austria has coffee houses." But what about the United States? I mean we have Starbucks, where everyone is over-caffeinated and too eager to pounce on an available electrical outlet, and we have a plethora of bars, but what about people who don't drink?
"Third places contribute to the life worth living. They root us; they give us an identity; they restore us; they support us. Bottom line: They allow us to be us. And everyone knows our name." — Psychology Today
In his book The Great Good Place, Ray Oldenburg explains that third places all share common features:
- They are neutral, meaning people can come and go without penalty
- They are level, meaning everyone there is equal
- Conversation is the main activity in third places
- Third places are accessible — no reservation needed!
- Third places have many trusty regulars
- Third places are unpretentious
- The dominant mood of a third place is playful
Boy, these third places sure are sounding an awfully lot like public libraries ... am I right?!
Third places play a critical role in attracting and keeping a creative and innovative workforce. Whether you're in need of help with a research project, looking to learn a new skill or hobby, or if you're in the market for a new book, your local library is the perfect third place to spend your free time. I promise it will be fun for you and good for your head!
PS: I certainly won't be doing work in my bedroom any time soon, but there's no way I'm giving up reading in bed. It's a great way to unwind at the end of a long day, and it's an even better excuse to lay in bed a little longer the next morning!