Less libraries and compounding cafés

In my long work trip at Bengaluru last month, finding quiet and cheap places to read and write from was challenging. After a string of hit-or-miss cafés, I found and worked from a nearby public library. It was great. They provide ergonomic chairs and wide tables. There are also dedicated areas with sofas and low-height tables for leisurely reading. And every large, cross-ventilated room provides peace. All for free.

It really made me wonder about how capitalist consumerism has left us with fewer and fewer public spaces to just exist in. “Work cafés” keep creeping in while tax-funded productive spaces decline. The former tend to be both noisy and expensive while the latter have neither by definition.

What kind of a world are we building? What are we conditioning ourselves to?

Aside: If I may complain about that particular library though, it would be that they don’t provide charging points or Wi-Fi. However, both these things could be worked around, and so for a free service I don’t see it as a bummer. I can even understand not wanting to provide free Wi-Fi but I do hope they consider charging points in the future.

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