Patrons of the North Miami Public Library will soon be able to grab a drink or a healthy snack while they browse books.
The City Council approved a one-year contract with Downtown Book Center to bring a library cafe to the city’s only library, 835 NE 132nd St. City leaders hope to have the cafe operating by October.
Raquel Roque, the company’s owner and CEO, said she was excited to bring a new element to the library and hopes to draw from her family’s experience in this new cafe. Roque’s father, José Rábade, initially opened the Downtown Book Center, 247 SE First St., in front of a Miami bus stop back in 1965.
“We need to really give reading and healthy eating to our community,” Roque said.
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In addition to coffee, the cafe will primarily provide grab-and-go options like granola bars, fruit, organic candies and trail mixes. Roque also plans to sell book-related merchandise, school supplies and computer accessories.
Another cafe, The Coffee Corner, operated at the library shortly after the facility reopened in 2015, after more than a year of renovations. City Manager Larry Spring said that the vendor was unable to keep the business going over time.
“The bid that we got the last time, from a financial perspective, might have been a little bit unrealistic from a volume standpoint,” Spring said. “The vendor here took an approach that we’re going to start it slow and rise as we go over time.”
After a three-month grace period, Downtown Book Center will pay the city monthly rent of $500 and an $85 monthly operation fee and split some profits with the city.
Library director Lucia Gonzalez said she was glad that the city’s evaluation committee chose to partner with Downtown Book Center. The company, through Roque, manages a bookstore in Miami International Airport and has also provided management services for Books & Books.
“I think this is a wonderful opportunity and a very unique venture on which we are embarking,” Gonzalez said.
Laura Hill, a city resident, said the cafe will be a welcome addition.
“I love it. I really miss the library cafe and bookstore culture that I used to enjoy in Washington state and in California,” Hill said.