"focus" by dkalo is licensed under CC BY SA 2.0

“focus” by dkalo is licensed under CC BY- SA 2.0

I’ve freelanced as a writer, editor, and even mystery shopper, and finding my focus was often the most difficult part of any assignment. My messy home office held too many distractions, and my local coffee shop could be noisy and crowded. At the library, though, I got more done in less time alongside others like me looking for a clean and quiet place to work. I didn’t know it at the time, but I was co-working when, well, co-working wasn’t cool. Who knew?

Today, co-working spaces are a trending option for anyone working outside the cubicle. With resources like WiFi, printers, fax machines, and copiers, co-working spaces are a productive refuge for freelancers, entrepreneurs, and telecommuters. What’s more, co-working spaces attract like-minded individuals to network and share ideas. Although fee-based co-working spaces can be found in Hampton Roads, the Chesapeake Public Library (CPL) serves as a similar resource at no or minimal cost to library customers.

"Get Excited and Make Things" by Tim Douglas is CC BY

“Get Excited and Make Things” by Tim Douglas is licensed under CC BY 2.0 

Productivity

Free services at the library include WiFi access, public computers, notary services, and faxing, with self-serve printing and copying available at just .20 per black-and-white page and .35 per color page. Throughout the libraries, tables and chairs allow customers to work comfortably alone or in collaboration with others.

Meeting Rooms

The library offers closed meeting spaces for customers, too. For small group reservations, customers can call up to 24 hours in advance to book a free study room. Customers are eligible for one two-hour study room reservation each day. For larger groups, Chesapeake residents can pay to reserve a bigger room. Room size, capacity and presentation tools vary by location. Check out room prices, technology, and policies by visiting the CPL home page and clicking on “About Us.”

Research

Cardholders can access the library’s premium websites, including the Small Business Collection. Topics include small business loans, entrepreneurship, startups, and tax code. Another premium website, Universal Class, offers self-paced online classes free of charge to library cardholders. Of particular interest to entrepreneurs are “How to Write a Business Plan,” “How to Start and Run an Online Business,” and “Marketing for Small Business 101.”

Reading

Of course, the library also holds several books on entrepreneurship and small business ownership, including the new publications below:

10 percent entrepreneur be your best boss legal forms
 main street entrepreneur  quench your own thirst  shark tank
 index  start your own transportation service  womens small business

survey says

“Survey Says” by Rusty Clark is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Survey Says

In the first Global Coworking Survey, the online magazine Deskmag asked 661 co-workers about their experiences using a co-working space:

  • 85% cited increased motivation
  • 88% cited improved social interaction
  • 60% cited a better-organized workday
  • 42% cited higher income

How-can-i-help

“How can I help” by Tim Schramm is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

If you or someone you know would benefit from the resources and community of a co-working space, visit any branch of the Chesapeake Public Library. We are ready to help freelancers, entrepreneurs, and small business owners find their own clean, well-lighted place to grow and develop their business ideas.

Do you already use the library as a co-working space? Would additional resources improve your co-working experience? Tell us about it by leaving a comment below!

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