New Wichita library breaks ground
When Wichita’s fancy new library opens next year, it will have a 2018-style amenity: a coffee shop.
On Tuesday, the Wichita City Council approved Reverie Coffee Roasters’ bid to open a shop inside of the new $33 million Advanced Learning Library, a 99,930-square-foot project going up on the southwest corner of Second and McLean.
Reverie owner Andrew Gough said the shop will be a miniature version of his original shop, which has operated 2611 E. Douglas since 2013, and will include a variety of coffee drinks, pastries and some grab-and-go lunch items.
“What attracted us to the deal is that it’s a cool amenity that our community needs,” Gough said.
Cynthia Berner, director of libraries for Wichita, said that when the new library was being conceptualized, planners frequently heard from users that they’d like some type of coffee option. In-library coffee shops are becoming more and more common – and more trendy – across the country, she said.
The library board invited businesses to submit bids to run the shop, and Reverie was determined to be the best fit.
"The thing that makes Reverie a great choice is that they're just very innovative, very young, very fresh," said Kellie Hogan, the president of the library board.
The shop will be just inside the entrance of the new library, and customers will be able to take a seat in a large commons area that will be furnished with tables and chairs.
Although libraries, full of books and paper and carpet, have historically been places where food and drink were prohibited, things have changed, Berner said.
“It’s a new age,” she said. “We will ask people to have lids. We are cautions about spills and things, but we want people to have a great experience when in the building, and we know a lot of people – particularly when they spend extended periods of time in the building – appreciate the opportunity to have a beverage and even a snack.”
There likely will be places in the library where beverages will still prohibited, she said, like near historical research materials.
Gough, who also will be the preferred caterer for meetings in the library’s 300-seat conference center, said that at first, he’ll keep limited hours. The shop will open when the library opens and close at 2 or 3 p.m. each day. He may add hours if people express an interest, he said.
For Gough and his crew, 2018 will be a busy year. In addition to the library project, he’s preparing to move his original coffee shop to a new, larger space at 2202 E. Douglas, where he’ll add an adjacent bakery called Founders Bakery. He’s also about to open a shop on the ground level of the Garvey Center at 250 W. Douglas.