When I set down and planned out my new experiment – Operation Cowork, I had a few places that I knew I definitely wanted to work from. I wanted to showcase a variety of places and decided that libraries should be at top of my list. Why? As freelancers/side hustlers we are always concerned (or should be) with dollars go in and out of business and it doesn’t cost (at the moment) to use them. I loved hanging out at the library going up. I used to go there after school, do homework, read magazines, and checking out books and movies. I wanted to rediscover them and see if they would make for a good place to work from now that I am an adult.
Last week Monday, after taking care of some errands I headed off to a local library – the DeKalb Branch. I figured that since it was a Monday it wouldn’t be so crowded and I could get a lot of work done before schools let out. Boy was I wrong. There were more than a handful of people already there. There are several schools close by so sometimes they used the library and that day was one of those times. I also saw first hand how bad our libraries have been hit with budget cuts.
Maybe I just being picky but the biggest thing mobile workers needs are outlets. The work we need to complete will outlast the life of our batteries. The first thing I asked for after walking in was for a place to charge up my laptop because I notices no outlets near the tables. I was directed to a fold out table with one power strip underneath. Maybe four people could use the table but it would be a very tight squeeze.
Plus their opening hours are kind of hard for me to work with. They open at 10am except for Wednesday, which they open later at 1pm and close at 8pm. The problem for me is, that when I sit down at my computer and start working, it’s hard to break that groove once I am in it. So if I start my workday at home, I’m would be less likely to stop and go to the library.
I put in a good two hours before I got fed up with my surroundings and then the wifi started to acting up. I thought library were suppose to be quiet and you couldn’t eat inside. I guess the rules have changed. I would continue to use this location but not when I am solely doing design work. I need to be able to put in hours of work in. I can tune out the noise with my ipod but I need to have some outlets.
Cost of Coworking at the Dekalb BK Library Branch: $0
Cost of running Operation CoWork (as of 11/7/11): $0