West End Councillor and Cabinet Member for Young People and Learning Timothy Barnes, and Councillor and Lord Mayor of Westminster Jonothan Glanz were present at the opening on September 7. Councillor Barnes pointed out that Westminster Business Library is the first coworking space inside a public library in the Westminster area. He said that the project would pivot many other public libraries to include a coworking space if it succeeds. He adds that the businesses or freelancers working in the coworking space would have the advantage of accessing the vast archive of physical and online business resources and engaging with the community to build a better society for all.
A Space to Engage and Socialise for Business Success
Lord Mayor Jonothan Glanz also expressed his hopes for Westminster Business Library to build a better community. “[The] theme for my morality had been inclusion, and there would be no better example of inclusion [than] spreading knowledge and allowing people to have access to resources that could be available here,” he said during the ribbon-cutting ceremony.
The furniture supplier and consultant of the coworking space, Rainbow’s Managing Director Tony Antoniou gave the guests a tour of the area after the ceremony. Antoniou told that the designing process of Westminster Business Library was very detailed. The collaboration of Erin Caseley, Chief Libraries Officer at Kensington and Chelsea and Westminster City Council, and Cint Sinclair, Literacy and Learning Service Lead at Kensington and Chelsea and Westminster Libraries played an essential role in achieving the best possible results. “Erin and Clint had a very clear vision of what the space needed to look like, the purpose it was going to serve, and how it would work,” said Antoniou to Startups of London.
The coworking space’s design allows members to engage and socialise with each other. The kitchen is particularly a favourite of Antoniou. He said, “the [kitchen] area impresses me a lot, not because it takes up a large portion of the floor available, but because the Library [has] the vision to recognise that whilst this is not a space that will bring them revenue directly, it is required [to] make the whole space more attractive to potential users.”
Libraries Are Originally the First Coworking Spaces of History
At first glance, a coworking space inside a public library may seem a bit unconventional. But, libraries are essentially coworking spaces. So Westminster Business Library is a project that has the potential to redefine and rediscover both library and coworking space concepts.
Westminster Business Library provides its members with the standard packages all coworking spaces have—with much more affordable prices—, plus the benefits of skill-share opportunities, specialised business resources from the fashion industry to IT, and regular events. For example, the institution will host Business Psychologist Kelly Milburn & Performance/Wellness Coach Annette Gann on September 24 and David Manfield, former CEO of Capital Radio and a director at Carphone Warehouse, on October 4.
As Westminster’s first coworking space inside a public library, Westminster Business Library waits for its inhabitants. Whether you own a newly established business or are a freelancer, the coworking space offers everything you need, from resources to workshops and special events, for extremely affordable prices. As Antoniou put it, “within this beautiful building, someone may start a successful business, or through the carefully selected literature, go on a journey of self-improvement, or simply that they learn how to improve their CV and this gets them the job they always wanted.”