Last year, we joined Edgeryders at the UnMonastery in Matera for #LOTE3 and began talking about the scope to establish Common Libraries with hackers and makers across the EU. Twelve months later and we’re back from #LOTE4, where we led a dedicated workshop to talk about the progress we’ve made in the interim. The workshop covered the initiative’s origins, current focus as well as our forward plans. We asked participants to comment on the build methodology and MakerKits we’ve developed for Phase II activities in the UK. We also explored appropriate licensing regimes for Common Libraries content, and talked about the ambitious tech prototyping projects we currently have under development with a number of local authorities. Crucially, we spent time with the Matera 2019 team talking about plans for Common Libraries in Basilicata – we’re absolutely thrilled they were successful and really look forward to being a part of the town’s cultural journey over the years ahead. A massive thank you to all the Edgeryders, UnMonasterians and terrific hosts at the Fra i Sassi for (another) inspiring time enjoyed and well-spent ‘Living on the Edge’!
Earlier this year, we joined the OuiShare Fest in Paris to learn more about the collaborative economy. We were thrilled to be invited as finalists in the OuiShare Awards – with 127 entries from 31 countries, competition was certainly intense – and totally blown away when Common Libraries was voted one of five winners! We’ve since benefited from an intensive 5-day accelerator programme organised by the terrifically supportive OuiShare team. During a packed week in Paris, we worked closely with sharing economy entrepreneurs from Copass, Guerrilla Translation, Sofa Concerts and Symba. We quizzed some outstanding mentors to help shape our forward plans, participated in broad-ranging workshops to learn more about collaborative governance and community development, and even spoke to Parisian business students about our MakerKit prototyping work. We’re incredibly grateful to the OuiShare community for organising such an enriching learning experience – and, look forward to collaborating over the months ahead.
The Common Libraries team had a busy summer…
They went along to the Festival of Stuff hosted by UCL’s Institute of Making – eager to meet Mark Miodownik and the ‘community workshop‘ crew. They launched their first Project Report and talked to William Sieghart about the scope for closer working between libraries and hackers / makers to contribute to the independent report he’s been tasked with preparing for DCMS and DCLG about the Public Library service in England. They contributed to SCL regional meetings in the South East, East and London to answer library leaders’ questions about Common Libraries and library enterprises. They joined the OK Cast in Berlin for the Open Knowledge Festival to explore the scope for Common Libraries to blaze a trail in the course of promoting community publishing.
They led a workshop at the Pi and Mash unconference for library and information professionals at UCL, went Off Grid to spread the word in the South West, then, made for Berlin again to explore the potential for Common Libraries to be established as Open Coops and make use of the forthcoming Peer Production License. They met with the good people of the Restart Project at the Indie Tech Summit in Brighton, were thrilled to be invited to join the Matera 2019 bid to become EU Capital of Culture, and began talking to Frysklab about the scope for collaboration around mobile common libraries in future.
More recently, they’ve been talking to open data proponents in Sheffield and the North West, and were even fortunate enough to catch up with Nick Stopforth along the way – before winding up, last weekend, with library enthusiasts at LibraryCamp in Newcastle.
Phew! So, what’s next?
Well, we’re pretty stoked to announce that Arts Council England has very kindly agreed to support the Common Libraries initiative to continue working with library leaders who are interested in hacking, making and community publishing – further details will follow this Autumn but enquiries from interested parties are, as ever, very welcome. Here at Common Futures, we look forward to Building Common Libraries with you all over the coming months!