Printing a new kind of library

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If I’ve been quiet recently it’s because I’ve been trying to practise what I preach – and that means we’ve all been working harder than we ever thought possible.

I’ve been working with Carillion in their four library services in London (Croydon, Ealing, Hounslow and Harrow) to develop Creative Work Spaces. These are locally designed creative spaces exploring new ways of learning, playing and working in tandem with traditional libraries.

The fruits of our collective labour finally fell from the tree yesterday evening as we watched our Creative Work Space logo being printed out from two 3D printers generously loaned to Northolt library in Ealing by Ultimaker.

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The 3D printers are the nucleus of our community managed and run maker space in that library, which is the start of an inspired project conceived by Fiona Tarn, who works for Carillion’s not-for-profit subsidiary, Cultural Community Solutions. Fiona and her team (shout out to Kieran, Maria and Amy!) have been tirelessly working to get this, and other innovative projects off the ground.

The project has also received support from Locality and the Arts Council to develop its ideas and find out about other inspirational libraries. We have learnt from other exciting maker spaces such as Create Space London in Stonebridge Park and South London Makerspace and become part of a community we didn’t even know existed before via Open Workshops London.

Over the next few weeks Northolt library will acquire new tools and equipment which has been specified by the community group that will be running and managing the maker space. To find out more about the maker space in Northolt and get involved, check out the Meetup page or ask to join the Google group.

But Creative Work Spaces is about more than just putting maker spaces in libraries. It’s about coding clubs, coworking spaces, community engagement and inspiring talks and collaborations with people who are pushing the boundaries of creativity, technology, science and knowledge.

The 3D printer workshop was the first of what we hope will be many thought provoking and interactive engagements between library users, makers and innovators in library spaces across London. If you would like to run a talk or workshop or come along to one, just get in touch via this blog, or twitter @katiepekacar or @hounslowculture. We’d love to hear about your idea.

And how did that logo turn out? Well it’s a work in progress but we’re pretty happy with our first effort…

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