We we love libraries - but our love isn’t blind! We take working in libraries seriously and we take our experiences of them seriously, too. Our reviews are our honest assessment of the libraries we’ve visited and worked in.
At first our reviews were very casual; but, being unapologetic quantifiers, we came up with 11 criteria for evaluating libraries:
Parking - Is there parking? Is it free? Is there a time limit?
WiFi - Is it available? Fast? How hard is it to log in?
Meeting/study rooms - Are there any? How hard or easy is it to book? What are the rules?
Cleanliness - Is the place well-cared for? Does someone take pride in keeping it neat as a pin?
Completeness - Sure, they all have books and movies, but a kids’ room? A teen area? Loaner laptops? Reading glasses? Sewing machines? 3D printers? Carpet Cleaners?!?!
Community - Do people use the place? Are there kids and parents and students? Is it a hive of activity?
Friendliness - Is the staff helpful? Chatty? Engaging?
Restrooms - Are they open? Clean? Accessible?
Noise - Can you think? Is there a ticking clock, a loud scraping chair?
Comfort level - Do you feel happy and at ease?
Good place to work - Is it easy to get good work done?
Remember, these started as things that mattered to us as we considered libraries as places to work. There are a lot of other things that make libraries awesome that we didn’t think about or consider.
At first, rating the libraries was done after the visit but we quickly realized evaluating them in real-time would be a much more accurate approach. To do this we created a nice little Google Form that we saved to our phones.
For example, here’s how we judged wifi:
No wifi = 0
Slow wifi that is password protected = 1
Slow wifi you need to log onto via a website = 2
Superfast wifi that is password protected = 3
Superfast wifi that you need to log onto via a website = 4
Superfast wifi that you simply select = 5
We used the same kinds of scale for each category.