Saturday, August 5, 2023

Still Life with Robin: Goldilocks at the Library

by Peggy Robin

If you've been following my adventures in a non-electrified home during the 3-day period after the Big Storm, you'll already know I spent a big chunk of that time at the Cleveland Park Library, using the free wifi. That's how I kept the Listserv up and running from Sunday, July 30 through Tuesday night, August 1st. 

Loved that Library wifi! Not only was it free but it was fast! I give it 5 stars.

Now as to the work-space.... Hmmm, that's where I play Goldilocks:

The desk chairs at the large shared work-tables are TOO HARD!

On the second floor, in the loft overlooking the main lobby, there are some large blue upholstered armchairs with attached, swing-out desktops; while the chairs are nice and cushy, the desk work-space is TOO SMALL!

There are even larger armchairs --soft, white fabric and even cushier upholstery-- in the lobby on the ground floor, and while there are no swing-out desktops attached, there are some decent-sized, round coffee tables nearby, which can serve as work-tables. But they are TOO LOW!

Another plausible work-space is a long, narrow countertop running along a brick wall on the ground floor, and there are barstools lined up under the counter for seating, but again, the seats are TOO HARD, and even worse, they have NO BACKS! Goldilocks does need to kick back & take a break from typing, every now and then!

Yet another available work-space is a private study room, which may be reserved in advance online. In the study room, you get two large tables, four desk chairs. It's your own quiet little office, all to yourself, but with the library's powerful AC system pushing frigid air into a closed space, it's TOO COLD! And again, those desk chairs are TOO HARD!

But Goldilocks is nothing if not resourceful! In the land of TOO HARD / TOO SMALL / TOO LOW / TOO COLD, she can rearrange things to suit her work needs. You can do it, too! Here's how:

First, you occupy one of the big, blue armchairs on the second floor. The one at the far end next to the wall has an outlet conveniently close. Yes, the swing-out desktop is too small, but not far away there's a seating area with pairs of orange reading chairs and  low end-tables in between. Moving one of those end-tables next to the blue armchair creates another work surface. If the swing-out desktop is angled properly, it will support a large laptop and a separate, slim-profile keyboard. Then the end-table becomes a surface for the mouse, a notepad and pen, cellphone (plugged in to keep it charged), and water bottle.


Five stars to the library for its intelligent layout, good variety of work-spaces to choose from, excellent lighting, nice acoustics, fine artwork on the walls, and nice views from the library's picture windows. The clean, well maintained bathrooms deserve particular praise.

Can I award more than five stars? I'd give a zillion of 'em to the library staff, who were unfailingly helpful, friendly, knowledgeable, efficient, and, after watching them with other library patrons, including quite a few with small children in tow, I must add, patient and kind.

We -- and by "we" I mean most Cleveland Parkers -- tend to do a lot of complaining about DC government, but there's at least one DC-run department that is performing at top level, and it's DCPL!

Still Life with Robin is published on the Cleveland Park Listserv and on All Life Is Local on Saturdays.

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