Back in 2013, we began working with The Creative Coop and partners to prototype a Common Library at The Waiting Room in Colchester; a full account of the work we undertook beforehand is available online, as is a more recent project update published by the Carnegie UK Trust.
In January 2014, we were fortunate to receive support from Arts Council England to begin exploring the potential to establish a network of integrated ‘library-hack-makerspaces’ – Common Libraries – working with three community enterprises and their local library authorities. You can:
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Since then, Arts Council England very kindly agreed to support the Common Libraries initiative to continue working with library leaders in England who are interested in hacking, making and community publishing.
Our programme of activities for Spring 2015 involved our:
- Disseminating How-to Establish Common Libraries MakerKits to every library authority in England to promote the resources we’ve developed and to issue an open call to participate in Phase II activities and/or attend a relevant event.
- Supporting “Hack the Library” Days in x5 locations to broker appropriate and mutually beneficial relationships between libraries, hackers and makers in practical settings as well as to help identify quick prototyping wins.
- Working with x5 libraries to establish the demand for MakerBoxes and MakerKits in different locations.
- Hosting x2 Inspire and Inform Events for library service commissioners and providers in hack/maker spaces to raise awareness, share learning and establish good practice.
- Producing a Short Film Series – to capture key messages from the events for dissemination to a wider audience via the Common Libraries website.
The outcomes from this recent phase of activity are now available online.