Co-working spaces aren’t revolutionary when we consider that libraries have been providing this service forever. And yet companies that do this, the biggest being WeWork, have managed to monetize it.

WeWork started with a mission to build community. Quite literally part of their mission statement is to create “a place you join as an individual, ‘me’, but where you become part of a greater ‘we’.”

Now, unsurprisingly, when you look into most libraries, they share almost that exact mission statement. The goal of the library is to provide its patrons with resources – yes. But it’s also tasked with creating a larger sense of community and bringing people together.

So why is it that two very similar types of spaces have shown such different levels of demand from the public? Why it is that WeWork is able to sell out spaces when libraries offer almost the exact same service for free? The key word here is almost. They’re similar – but not identical. And it’s in their differences that WeWork found its success.

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