‘It’s Been Overwhelming’: New Library Sees Huge Demand for Meeting Rooms


The row of smaller meeting rooms at New Canaan Library. There's another row of larger ones along the eastern side of the building. Credit: Michael Dinan

The celebrated new New Canaan Library is seeing high use and traffic from residents of all ages, availing themselves of features such as quiet work spaces, programming, café, reading areas, rooftop terrace, business center, MakerLab, garden, community events and computer stations. With the creation of the green overlooking Main and Cherry Streets, a range of outdoor areas will soon join that list.

Yet one of the most-used features of the new library has been its plentiful—and always booked-out—meeting rooms.

“It’s been overwhelming,” CEO Capital Campaign Major Gifts & Endowment Ellen Crovatto told NewCanaanite.com Monday morning on the library’s main floor, as patrons moved through the nearby stacks. “The response has been great and people are using the rooms at a very, very high rate.”

The library has had 7,000 room bookings in the new building since it opened in February.

The meeting rooms—five smaller (four to eight people) in a row on the second floor, with a series of larger conference rooms nearby—are “in demand constantly,” Crovatto said.

“We’ve got students. We have adults. We’ve got groups meeting here at all hours,” she said. “ We are just now approving a new meeting rooms booking policy to address some of these new concerns. How do we manage the spaces? And in some cases, how do we charge for the spaces? But the majority of what we do is free to the public.”

The rooms can be booked easily online, with no login required, and those reserving them must do so several days in advance to have a chance at snagging one.

Crovatto noted that the library “was prescient” in designing a building with so many meeting spaces, as all of that planning happened pre-COVID. The pandemic has seen many more residents working from home, which in turn has brought more people to the library to get work done, including in the meeting rooms.

“We are fortunate that we had put so much thought into the design of the meeting room spaces,” Crovatto said. “And I think that today, we could probably double the amount of meeting room space we have, given what we’ve seen the demand to be.”

3 thoughts on “‘It’s Been Overwhelming’: New Library Sees Huge Demand for Meeting Rooms

  1. The overwhelming success of the meeting rooms is a reflection of pent-up demand and an undersized supply of quiet space in the new library. As most adult patrons can see, the teens have spilled out of their designated section and taken over most of the top floor. Perhaps the 1913 building can have an annex so it can provide space for remote workers looking for a truly quiet space.

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