Could I get a Venti Sugar-Free Vanilla Decaf Americano with that “Tale of Two Cities”?

How cool is this? Some high school libraries are taking after Borders and other book retailers by serving up the java to create a “studing/coffee house” atmosphere. They recognize that students enjoy going to their local coffee shop, that it’s a great place to study and engage other folks. I think I stepped foot in my high school library once a year, usually because my teachers made me. And I *like* libraries: so what does that say when a bibilophile won’t come near one?

The crux of the article is to warn against allowing students to have such easy access to caffeine, but it’s not as if Starbucks isn’t on every corner of the street in Anytown, U.S.A. I understand their worries, but look at the positives: students might actually use the library to study – to ask for help rather than go to shady resources – to learn how to become lifelong, self-motivated learners.

I’ve had some quality encounters with Christ in coffeeshops – taking my journal, a good book, watching other folks converse and engage with each other, looking out the window at the traffic, smelling the coffee and fresh baked scones, watching kids play with the heavily-drooled on toys, seeing friends come and go . . . . What’s so appealing about it? When I lived in Boise, I would often spend my Sunday mornings at a coffee shop of my own choosing depending on my mood (Starbucks if I was lazy, Flying M if I was feeling artsy-fartsy) – why did I feel like I engaged Christ more really, more authentically there than at my church?

With a library, the users usually need to go to the library to get full access to the wealth of materials and aid: true, there’s online reference people and online holds and the bookmobile, but generally folks have to go to the library. I’ve been hearing about how the church should be missional – should go out to people rather than have them come to the building/ministry. Are there cases, though, that it’d be best to have people come to the church, something need that can best be met or resources that are best used by coming to the church?

Libraries feel the effect of resources readily available on the internet: their patronage numbers are declining. But libraries are doing some really radical ways to set themselves apart from doing a google search, ways that brand their sort of assistance, to assist each person individually in assessing their personal needs. Does the church do this? Can they? What would that look like?