Year | 2013
Location | Sheffield, South Yorkshire
Client | Richard Motley, Managing Director, CIQ Agency

Today, Sheffield’s local libraries are facing extensive changes with many under threat of closure. Re-imagining libraries is a project which aims to develop strategic options to rethink and reclaim the community library as a sustainable organisation. The traditional library services are widely acknowledged to be in decline due to a large range of easily accessible alternatives. Many of these are available within the comfort of people’s own homes.
Our aim was to outline a potential mechanism to achieve community led solutions for the future of libraries. The project began as a collaboration between the Cultural Industries Quarter Agency and Live project group 10 from the Sheffield School of Architecture. The Live project group extensively researched solutions communities had developed across the country to aid knowledge transfer and re-purpose libraries for today.
Due to political sensitivities surrounding public libraries, we chose to pursue an grassroots approach that would engage community stakeholders that are involved. A board game was created as an engagement tool to help empower local community libraries and steering groups to agree on a collective strategy and make informed decisions for the future. A series of supporting documents, a prototype website and mobile phone application facilitate the legacy of this tool within the wider Sheffield framework, helping to foster future relationships and networks between the future of Sheffield’s community libraries. This enables the client to purse an approach that involves working with the community to develop a future vision of their local libraries.
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