Patrons strolling in on Saturday morning slowed their steps and turned their heads to look at the new Lakota Coffee Kiosk in the Columbia Public Library that was up and running for its first full day of business.
The kiosk stands opposite to the book checkout in front of the ceiling-high windows that illuminate the lobby on sunny days. The state-of-the-art countertop holds the self-serve coffee dispensers and a top-of-the-line Brasilia cappuccino maker. The biggest seller is the regular cup of joe, called the “library blend,” which was specially brewed for this location, said Lakota employee Anthony Russomanno.
“There is a coffee-book connection,” he said. “The (library) blend is stronger, but people don’t seem to water it down. At the hospital kiosk people always complain that it’s too strong, but here they don’t.”
The new kiosk is a place of convenience to some frequent coffee drinkers, such as avid patron Sidney Kariem Morris.
“I think the setup is good,” Morris said. “I go to Lakota, but there’s more that I can do here — research or read — without having to worry about what I have to do. I can just grab a cup of coffee here.”
Lakota aficionados who enjoy the Ninth Street location are happy to be able to continue their habit in another venue that is close to downtown.
“I think its great how they (Lakota) brew their own coffee,” Michael Lee Robbins said. “They made a wise decision to go with Lakota, they’re one of the first to roast their own beans and they’re family oriented. I always take my daughter, Mila Leah, to draw and play there. Hopefully this will be an extension of that.”
Be it coffee drinkers who like to read or book readers who like to drink coffee, the kiosk feeds the library crowd.
“It’s a beautiful place to come and relax,” James Downs said with a chuckle. “Now that they’ve got the coffee shop here, it will be a lot better. Now all they need is a lunch counter and we can stay here all day.” The kiosk does offer pastries from The Upper Crust Bakery.
The kiosk is open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Fridays, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays and 1 to 4 p.m. on Sundays.