A key step in establishing any Common Library is to build a directory of local creatives operating in the area and, where required, categorising these according to skill-set, availability and willingness to get involved.
In developing such a directory, you will:
- Have an easy to access list of people who might have skills to share/lead workshops;
- Understand what scale and scope of creative activity is already underway in your area which could, in turn, help you to identify and develop a niche offer;
- Benefit from an evidence base to help justify any decisions you might take about your target audience, the space you develop, any equipment you might consider acquiring;
- Have a ready-made list of potential members for the future; and
- People who can entrust their knowledge and develop MakerBoxes and Kits.
Although clearly a matter of local needs and preferences, such a directory would usually include:
- Names & Contact Details – inc. workspace location
- Websites / Social Media Channels
and/or answers to those questions you posed in conducting your initial survey.
Key Questions to Consider
- What group(s), if any, are you particularly keen to target? Why? Is there an identified need or desire amongst a particular group to facilitate/participate in hacking and making activities? Are you in receipt, or liable to receive funding to support your activities by virtue of your target audience(s)? If not, to what extent are you able to develop hacking and making activities on a social enterprise footing by virtue of your target audience(s)?
- Is your choice of target audience(s) liable to impact the manner and extent to which they are able/willing to get involved in all aspects of your Common Library’s development and operation in the future?
- How might other local stakeholders help you to engage your target audience(s)?
- Are there proportionately more people amongst your target audience who are able and willing to engage in hacking OR making activities? How does that breakdown?
Acquiring the data needed to populate such a directory can be challenging, because many creatives are self-employed and/or work from home and/or pursue their interests part-time or in their spare time; for an indication of the former, ward level data from the census can be instructive in this regard.
Nonetheless, pertinent sources of information, subject to your focus, could include:
- An initial survey you undertake
- Local hobby, activity and voluntary groups
- Local Listings – Yell.com
- Schools and Colleges
- Local Authorities
- Companies House
Consideration could also be given to using:
- Press/Media Articles, Appeals and Advertisements
- Posters and Leaflets
- Web and Social Media Channels
- Business Card Drop Box
In addition, why not look up your nearest hack / maker space and make first contact –