I've had this file sitting on my desk top for a long time, and tonight I got around to reading it. It is a slide show/presentation, called "Best Practices for the Customer-Focused Library" and created by the Metropolitan Library System (Chicago).
Most of the reading was not really applicable to us, meaning that we are not a massive public library system in an urban area (go figure), but one thing did strike me:
"Patrons are utilizing the library as meeting and study space, not just for items, computers or services. Allotting space for study and socializing needs is important when creating an overall atmosphere of service. Patrons using the building are easier to convert to users of library services than those who do not enter."
Even small academic libraries need public space to bring the people in - then, only after they are here, we hook them with books!
This is something that the Hurst Library has mentioned in every single musing about a new library. This seems like old news to us - go team!