The Virtual Library Hot Spot at PHL has launched! Over the past months, the Free Library of Philadelphia and Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) have collaborated to produce this unique attraction. The Free Library extended our wide area network into PHL, thus making our Free Library-branded wireless access possible and consistently stable. The Wi-Fi splash page highlights many of the outstanding Free Library digital resources available to airport users. And PHL provided a physical lounge space. Put all those together and you have a Virtual Library Hot Spot! Amongst the first people to enjoy this new partnership were the thousands of attendees to the American Library Association's Mid-Winter Conference, held in Philadelphia.
All the work from those two teams sure paid off! The lounge is a beautifully decorated space located in the D/E Terminal connector concourse. The 20 x 40 foot area is nestled between the B-Iconic and Life is Good retail stores, and its eye-catching colors and design stands out to anyone passing by. Serpentine couches weave out from the two center columns which have been wrapped with a bookshelf motif. That theme continues along the windows with a transparent bookshelf adhesive which glows throughout the day based on the varying levels of sunlight. Leather lounge chairs dot the rest of the space and add to the vibrancy of color. The central columns and planters create makeshift walls which form intimate spaces for travelers to zone out, meditate, or to continue with that novel they can't put down.
During the conference, dozens of ALA members stopped by to admire the space and take photos with their phones. Compliments overheard included how well the space was used, the way the color brought life to the lounge, the overall cleanliness, and that the contemporary look is a game changer for the airport. Having the Free Library name attached to such a space can only be beneficial. Library professionals from across the country took note of the Virtual Hot Spot @ PHL, and it will be interesting to see how this idea may take flight in other places.