I've seen a few libraries with the just-outside-the-door model, and a Borders with a small Peet's upstairs. Both were well-executed.
> Has it been a while since you been to a library? Cameron Village Regional Library is the only library in Wake County that offers coffee bar service to its patrons! Come visit your public library and browse the stacks with a beverage in hand. Or just come and meet up with a friend and catch up before heading over to the shops and events at Cameron Village.
If they'd served coffee back then I might have spent less of that time sleeping.
Give me a library that has beer on tap any day.
The main branch of the Ottawa Public Library has a nice little coffee/food shop in the middle of its main floor.
I've also visited two public libraries in smaller cities north of Toronto recently, and they also have similar shops. I think it is a great idea, as I will sometimes go to the library to work for the day and don't even have to leave the building for lunch.
* One in a city of 36K people doesn't have refreshments, but is located on a street with lots of restaurants and at least 3 coffee shops within a block or 2.
* One in a city of ~56K people has a coffee kiosk under a canopy/tent alongside the library (this is Southern California, weather's not too big an issue).
* The central library in a city of ~140K has a coffee shop in a sheltered part of a patio/courtyard. I don't think the branch libraries have coffee.
* Los Angeles Central library has 2 restaurants inside the main library building (Panda Express, and a sandwich counter), and a pricier white-tablecloth restaurant in the garden in front of the building. I don't know about the branch libraries.
(edited for formatting)
To sliverstorm's point, the Philly-style pretzel shop across the street from my branch does a nice business with kids after school (and me any time of the week), and I long for a nice coffee shop in the adjacent vacant space.