Sep 19, 2023 - Business

New 7th Ward community center includes free co-working space

Photo shows librarians standing in front of the 7th Ward community center

Reach Center head Shukrani Gray, associate Gregory Jean, and librarian Kim Coleman in front of the new space in the 7th Ward. Photo: Courtesy of New Orleans Public Library.

The New Orleans Public Library is slated to soon open a new community center in the 7th Ward that offers free co-working space, special events and other resources for entrepreneurs.

Driving the news: The initiative, called the Reach Center, is inside the Corpus Christi Epiphany Church Community Center at 2022 St. Bernard Avenue.

  • "Residents and businesses in this neighborhood have repeatedly voiced their desire for a free place to gather, learn and grow together, and we're so excited to start filling that need," said Shukrani Gray, the library's African American Resource Collection and equity and inclusion librarian.
  • It also has a public art gallery.

Zoom out: The Reach Center is the new umbrella organization for the library's African American Resource Center.

  • It was first introduced in 1997, offering services aimed at addressing the informational, educational and cultural needs of the city's Black communities, but was downsized to a collection in 2017.
  • The collection is housed at the main branch of the library and is made up of nonfiction, BIPOC-focused books, Gray says.

What's next: The Reach Center plans a grand opening in January 2024. Until then, it is experimenting with pop-ups and limited hours, Gray tells Axios.

Go deeper: See more Reach Center events


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