Library as Community Recharging Station

My library is thinking about recharging stations for mobile devices. So I’m looking into outlets with USB slots, special stands, etc.

How come? Because customers want to recharge. If you walk around our library, you’ll notice we have a lot of lamps by comfy chairs. Guess what? Those lamps, for the most part, will be unplugged. Because people are recharging their devices. So – we’ll probably be doing something to address that.


That also made me think – why shouldn’t the library be the community’s recharging station? For more than just mobile devices? What would we need to become the community’s recharging station?

Here are some ideas:

  • Lots of outlets
  • Lots of USB plugins
  • Comfortable chairs that can be moved around
  • Electric car charging stations
  • Lots of windows in the building
  • Offer video games for more than just teens
  • Make the library a fun place instead of a quiet place
  • Offer classes related to recharging/de-stressing
  • Be positive. At the desk, in signage, in instructions.
  • Focus on do, not on don’t. Yes rather than no.
  • Help customers make things
  • If someone’s sleeping in the library … maybe don’t kick them out.
  • Offer exercise classes. You have the books and the videos … why not the actual class?

And of course, have lots of good books :-)

Thoughts? Comments? Do you think of your library as the community’s recharging station? If so, why? If not, why? I’d love to hear from you!

Pics by Emergency Brake and Viktor Hertz

  • Louisa

    Nice ideas! Everyone is so busy and frazzled these days. It could be like a “spa library” – lol!

  • GKK

    I was startled when I was informed that I could not sleep in the public library and had to either stay awake or leave. The last time I’d tried to sleep in a library it was perfectly acceptable, though the furniture did not encourage it. Really, I’d like to see libraries have those ‘sleep pod’ things that are starting to appear in airports.

    Not a fan of ‘make the library a fun place rather than a quiet place.’ Must keep quiet areas. I don’t find other people having noisy fun around me to be very recharging. Which is why I was trying to sleep in the library and not the park.

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  • Hslibrarian

    Love the idea! Am trying to do the same for my high school library and have found a perfect vendor: steelcase furniture…there’s a local rep here in austin, tx, doing pricing with me: rockford business interiors. I saw the steelcase displays at this year’s TCEA convention. Definitely hip, hot and not so stealable!

  • Jim Peterson

    We’re going to be constructing a new facility soon (we hope!) and I hope we can implement all these ideas!

  • Wil

    Thanks, David, for your refreshing point of view. I’m struck, as always, by your thoughts on how library organizations might orient themselves to be more accommodating to their human customers, rather than the reverse, humans having to accommodate to a somewhat rigid, perhaps even archaic regimen.

  • Marcella

    I think the Topeka library is a recharging area–at least a communal space, and it always makes me happy when I walk in and see lots of people of all ages and backgrounds around.

    YES to electric car charging stations! :) These are all great ideas, I think.

    Continuing to have a mix of quiet and loud spaces is a good idea for a library–people recharge in different ways.

  • Brian Herzog

    My library does have a electric car charger ( and has also worked to add outlets and ethernet jacks in convenient-for-patrons places (

    Something else we routinely do in the winter is bring out loads of power strips whenever there is a power outage in town (in those situations, there are never enough outlets).

    I really love the idea of actively looking for ways to provide services our patrons need, even if it’s not something they’d automatically think the library would provide.

  • Cari Dubiel

    That’s the first thing I thought of, Brian – I remember your post about the charging station at Chelmsford.

  • Cari Dubiel

    I could go for one of those sleep pods right now. Although sleeping on the job is probably not recommended :-)

  • Colleen Greene

    Our student union recently added mobile device charging stations. I think you’re right…our library needs to consider doing the same.

  • GKK

    Yeah, but you could totally have a nap on your lunch break.

    Without having to sneak down and lie on the floor among the bound periodicals, the traditional location for such behavior. E-journals have destroyed the best library nap-sites, they must be replaced!

  • staceyflynn

    During last summer’s severe power outages here in DC, our public library here in Germantown, MD, was miraculously situated in a good grid and served us in this capacity (and more!). I’m a school librarian and, as we think about BYOD implementation for students, I can’t help but think about how students will need to recharge, not to mention borrow chargers. Good stuff!

  • Kara

    Interesting observation. At first I thought “but that is what I expect from the local YMCA.” I think people expect to go to the library for quiet and to escape chaos. More activity, less chance of solitude. It would take some adjustment in expectations. I do agree with the charging station for all the mobile technology because it is a need and patrons would appreciate the attention to detail. I also agree that people recharge in their own unique ways so there is a need for a creative, workable compromise in the idea.

  • Rachel

    Thanks for this idea! I have adapted this for our academic library environment. We now lend cable for charging smart- and iphones to our patrons – hopefully this service will become as popular as the lending of laptop locks!

  • davidleeking

    That’s a cool idea – thanks for sharing!

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