Residents responding to a community needs assessment for Wheaton Public Library made it clear they'd like to see a cafe or coffee shop inside the building, Director Betsy Adamowski said Wednesday.
It's an idea library officials are quickly embracing.
"I think it will enhance the downtown experience, it's going to give the teens a place to go and I think it's going to be a great service for the library," Adamowski said.
A request for bids still needs to be issued, she said, but the hope is to review proposals from independent vendors in the next few months.
The chosen vendor would lease the "Parkview Commons" space of the library, on the west side of the building at 225 N. Cross St. It includes large windows that overlook Adams Park, along with washrooms and an outside entrance that would allow the shop to be open beyond library hours.
"I think the past administration just didn't want the food and drink in the library," Adamowski said when asked why the space was never turned into a cafe, even though it appears to be built for that use. "I don't agree with that. Neither does the board."
While the cafe or coffee shop would be independent, Adamowski is hopeful it will share the library's vision by offering music on the outdoor patio or events such as poetry readings.
"It's just got a lot of potential to be a great place," she said.