Having written yesterday about the sense of community in some coffee shops I should note that Grand Rapids Public Library (Main Branch) is a place where that manifests in a quite different way. There is a sense of community about the place and between the staff and a number of other people; it’s clear that there is a fair number of regulars.
The wireless signal is pretty good in the central parts of the building, including the cafe on the second floor. dslreports.com claim there’s a speed of only 67kps down/55kpbs up, but it feels a good bit faster than that, and is certainly usable for general browsing or some simple FTP/SSH work, if not for heavy amounts of remote logins or downloads.
And of course there’s the plentiful supply of books, including a small selection of used books for sale at great prices (I just found a JSP book that’s normally $50 for only 50c!) and some delightfully cheesy LPs available for purchase.
UPDATE: After I finished writing this entry the connection got considerably slower, to the point of feeling sluggish. With such a large building it’s difficult to tell how many users there are in the building, but I get the impression the library should consider upgrading its connection.