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April 14, 2011

Coffee shop opens in New Albany library

Hobknobb now has three locations

NEW ALBANY — Steve Day said he tries to make improvements to the New Albany-Floyd County Public Library each year to make it more inviting to residents.

In recent years he has added new carpet and furniture, created a job center help station, and added several computers to fill patrons’ needs.

This year, he decided to go in a different direction.

For the first time, the NA-FC Public Library will have its own coffee shop, located on the first floor of the facility. Hobknobb Roasting Co. will manage the restaurant, which features several varieties of coffee, tea and pastries from Sweet Stuff and Adrienne & Co.

Day said he got the idea several years ago while visiting other libraries, and also heard from patrons who said the library needed a coffee shop.

“We would hear from people who were doing research in the Indiana Room that there was no place to get something to drink or eat. We would have to send them somewhere else,” said Day, director of the library. “I saved some money back from our capital projects fund and we decided we can do this. We are excited about it.”

Hobknobb has two other locations, one at 419 State St. in New Albany and at the corner of  Scottsville Road and Paoli Pike in Floyds Knobs, where the business started and where it roasts its own coffee beans. Owner Barbara Fischer said she was approached by Day to open a third location in the library.

The State Street location is open from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. The new shop will be open during the library’s regular business hours, which are 9 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. During the school year, the library is open from 1 to 5 p.m. on Sunday.

“He called me and said they were looking to build a coffee shop, so we bid on it,” Fischer said of Day. “I think it will be an extra draw and help the library.”

Fischer helped design the coffee shop and all of the equipment is hers, but the library paid for the renovation work. Day said Fischer signed a two-year contract to operate the shop.

Hobknobb opened its Floyds Knobs location seven years ago and has been at its State Street location for three years.

“I think it’s great. You can come in here, read a book or get on your computer, and have a cup of coffee,” New Albany Mayor Doug England said. “It’s all local and we want people to buy local.”

Day said he will soon put two or three picnic tables near the front entrance. He said patrons will also be allowed to take their coffee throughout the library.

“We always try and do something [improvements] and we think this is a good idea,” Day said. “So far everyone has said it’s a wonderful idea. They are saying ‘why didn’t you do it sooner.’”

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