For Toronto novelist and lawyer Robert Rotenberg, it's what the city's Reference Library doesn't have that also makes it the perfect place to work on a novel.
"I can't do anything else there but write," the man behind books such as Stranglehold, Old City Hall and Stray Bullets said Thursday in an interview on CBC Radio's Metro Morning. "My clients can't get to me, I can't do laundry or make a salad. It's quiet and it's central."
'This will give writers wandering from coffee shop to coffee shop a place where they can be' - Robert Rotenberg on the Reference Library's new Writers' Room
And the space is about to get better for Toronto writers who like to shape their novels, screenplays or political polemics in the city's massive library. Scribes like Rotenberg can now work in the new Writers' Room which comes complete with work stations, power outlets and access to wireless Internet.
Writers can apply to use one of the room's four work stations for a three-month period.
For Rotenberg — who has a deep love of wandering the library's stacks and newspaper collection — the room will offer a place to park the research material he uses in his writing.
"It's fantastic," he said. "You need a place to leave your junk … your papers, your newspapers, your clippings and just leave your stuff around. This will give writers wandering from coffee shop to coffee shop a place where they can be.
"It's kind of like opening an art space where people can get a start. It speaks to what a library should be."
Sometimes Rotenberg uses the library to research a specific topic. At other times, he's seeking a piece of information to inspire him.
"People say 'You can find everything on Google,' but there's not that sense of adventure, wandering, surprise," he said.
"You need some blank space. You need to let your mind wander and physically wander."
Any writer, published or not, can apply to use the Reference Library's Writers' Room for a three-month period with an option to renew, depending on availability. Booking the room requires a library card and the room is only available during the Reference Library's opening hours.