I used an ODL yesterday. You know of such places if you ever used the rare books, rare documents rooms or library of a public library, or at a University. Every city has rooms or libraries that are ODLs.

The best of these libraries has free parking, free street parking available, admission is free and use of materials is free. It is comfortable with good chairs and wide tables, well lighted and lots of research help if you can be specific. I won’t say what I was researching for a novel, but as soon as I mentioned it, there were no specific books. I knew I had to consult a few hundred books. I would have to write the dialogue from my imagination.

The drawbacks to such libraries are no ink, computers or paper only, the willingness to be searched, no food, no gum, no liquids, no cell phones (lockers are provided and paid for) and if you’re writing to take notes, use only pencils which the library provides. They have excellent pencil sharpeners. 

There were few other patrons; everyone was quietly at their work. It’s a place to get work done, unless you’re accustomed to noise and like to be distracted.


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