by Cathryn Harris
APLIS – 1 March 2009

The increased use of the term third place derives from the research of urban sociologist Ray Oldenburg and his 1999 book ‘A great good place’. He writes about the importance of public gathering places and why these places are essential to community and public life. Although beverages are not crucial in developing a third place, the enjoyment of conversation over a cup of coffee certainly adds to the experience. Due to their ability to attract a large and diverse range of users and the prominent position they hold in many communities, public libraries are creating a sense of community. Their cafés appear to be an integral part of their development as a new third place.

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