by Russell Hall, Senior Librarian – South Tyneside Libraries
Here in the North East, we are buzzing with excitement about our involvement in the Common Libraries project. The staff have overwhelmed us with their ideas for kits and instruction booklets in response to an internal call to explore the co-production of our Common Library with library users.
Ideas for Kits include a number based upon traditional North East crafts. Our Library Matters group are already working towards the production of a start-up Kit for rag rug making, recreating the traditional “Clippy Mat”. And, the manager of our volunteer run cafe, “The Peoples Cafe” plans to provide instructions on making the traditional local delicacy “Singing Hinnies” – a type of drop scone – in due course.
Other staff and volunteers are engaged in the manufacture of home-made Bath bombs, Miniature zen gardens in a box, Knitted iphone socks, personalised greetings cards, Sugar Craft Flowers, and jewellery making!
It is the intention that many of these will be demonstrated at our “hack the library” day which will be held March 28th at the Central Library in South Shields.
In the interim, the staff are working on a display for our own Maker Instructions and Kits, as well as those produced by the Waiting Room, to encourage members of our public to contribute their own ideas – ultimately, our aim is to encourage library users (existing and prospective) to share their expertise and enthusiasm with others proactively in a library setting.
We’re eager to welcome participants as diverse as the North East leek-growing tradition and people from our former heavy industries, as well as those with more contemporary craft and skills (e.g. robotics and war-gaming). So, we hope you’ll join us!