Common Libraries

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= "prototyping the future of libraries", by Common Futures

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""We believe there is an urgent and pressing need to evolve libraries so that they may serve as bastions of a 21st century knowledge commons, functioning as trusted and impartial platforms for the production, exchange and consumption of knowledge and know-how. We are therefore using our expertise in design, technology, community engagement and social enterprise to work closely with library service users and providers to that end. Our ultimate aim is to empower people to co-design and deliver new library services in our increasingly open source society, such that they are responsive to technological advancement and fast-changing local needs, as well as positioned to make the most of emergent socio-economic opportunities. The intention, then, is to revitalise the public library ethos and render library services more relevant, useful and sustainable in their appeal to (and involvement of) broad-ranging audiences in our digital age."


" however, libraries are fast evolving to become what some have termed ‘read/write’ platforms that provide access to broad-ranging media as well as multi-media manipulation tools. The information with which they’re concerned increasingly includes data that is stored electronically, and library services themselves straddle the offline/online world.

The emergence of ‘library-hack-makerspaces’ is, then, very welcome – not least, insofar as they harbour the potential for STEAM skills development at the very heart of our communities, in keeping with libraries’ educational remit. And, yet, we’ve still to witness a thoroughgoing disruption of libraries’ twentieth century institutional boundaries – ideally, to establish knowledge production on an equal footing with knowledge consumption, reflecting the democratisation of the means of reproduction in the Western world. That is, we’ve still to see twenty-first century libraries established as bona fide peer-to-peer platforms for the purposes of facilitating knowledge exchange founded upon Commons principles.

We believe that library services should provide access to and enable development of a multimedia commons." (

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