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Celebrating the Library of the Future for Libraries Week

11 October 2019  
Posted by: Natalie Jones
Book cannons, holographic dinosaurs and green spaces – the nation’s children build their Library of the Future for Libraries Week


Children, young people and LEGO enthusiasts from age 2 to 85 have been hard at work as part of Libraries Week – an annual celebration of the nation’s much-loved libraries.

In a CILIP competition to build the Library of the Future out of LEGO bricks, hundreds of entries have highlighted the many different ways in which libraries will support their users in the future.

Some of the more imaginative ideas include:

  • A ‘book cannon’ to distribute books to library users
  • A holographic VR suite where people can enter the worlds of their favourite books
  • Trees, gardens and green spaces for quiet reflection
  • Art galleries, sensory walls and even a sculpture garden.

On a more serious note, the entries highlight some areas of key concern for library users. For example, there is a strong green theme to this year’s entries, with eco-friendly libraries, solar panels, wind turbines and even bicycle-powered computers! As well as many focusing on the importance of books in accessible formats and reading supported by librarians.

There is a recurring theme of the library as a social space and community hub that is universally-welcoming and inclusive for everyone. Rather than people having to travel to the library, many entries included an option for the library to go to the user, including mobile libraries, flying libraries and even a library designed to support communication with aliens and a teleporter.

Commenting on the entries, CILIP Libraries Champion, Bobby Seagull, who was a judge for CILIP’s national Library of the Future competition, said:

“Libraries are like time machines. They offer us a window into the past and help us to build our future. The fantastic, creative and imaginative entries to this year’s Library of the Future competition really highlight the continued relevance of libraries, as they become an ever more important hub at the heart of their communities. It has been an honour to judge CILIP’s LEGO Library competition and to see the enthusiasm and creativity it has inspired. Our winner presented an impressive and eye-catching build that encapsulated the diverse and inclusive services the library has to offer us, both now and in the future.

Nick Poole, Chief Executive of CILIP, the library and information association, which ran the Library of the Future competition, also commented:

“We have been blown away by the quality and imagination on display in the Library of the Future competition. The entries have made us laugh, made us think and most of all, they’ve told us how important libraries are in the imaginations of the next generation. We saw unique and innovative ideas and inspiring ways to improve library services, all supported by the hundreds of libraries across the UK that organised LEGO clubs and encouraged their users to take part in the competition.”

We are delighted to announce that the winner of CILIP’s Library of the Future competition is Friends of Padgate Library for their ‘Inspire Library’:

“Inspire embraces the digital world. Serves as a knowledge Hub and a Community Hub. Brings people together for learning and wellbeing. Transports children ‘over the rainbow’ using their imagination and creativity. A holistic cultural & scientific centre.”

Friends of Padgate’s inspiring LEGO Library of the Future was created by a team of 8 at their LEGO Club, which includes young people (aged 7-14 years), adults and members of the Friends of Padgate group. Friends of Padgate is a volunteer group that was set up 18 months ago to support Padgate Library and prevent its closure.

Linda Riley, a member of Friends of Padgate said:

“Winning the competition is recognition both of the Friends Group’s hard work and the success of the LEGO Club. The Club’s success means we were able to form a LEGO building team comprising Nathaniel 7, Callum 10, David 10 and Samuel 14 and four adult builders and to enter the CILIP Library of the Future competition. The build was led by the young and enthusiastic designers of the team. Their ideas included the out of hours automated/robotic Issue system, indoor play centre, information desk and electric charging points for cars. The programme of activities we already do and our future plans were instrumental in our ideas for the build. We feel we have a unique and innovative model and are delighted to be winners of the competition.”

The winners received 4 tickets to LEGOLAND Windsor and £500 to donate to the library of their choice. Friends of Padgate proudly made their donation to Padgate Library.

CILIP and Bobby Seagull were so impressed with the entries into the competition they also selected 5 runners up who will each receive a LEGO book from DK Publishers.

The LEGOLibrary competition is a @CILIPinfo initiative as part of Libraries Week (7-12 October), the annual celebration of the nation’s much-loved libraries. In 2018, Libraries Week focused on health and wellbeing and engaged over 11 million people in library-based activities.  This year, Libraries Week is supported by sponsors Nielsen Book and Rakuten OverDrive, and celebrates the role of libraries in a digital world. The wide range of digitally themed events and activities, include BBC VR experiences, coding clubs, makerspaces, cybersecurity and online safety training and digital reading.

The week-long celebration culminates in the third ‘Worlds of Possibilities - The London Libraries Festival’, on Saturday 12th October. All of London’s 325 public libraries are participating and a number will be delivering an expanded day of events and activities to cater for all ages and interests, including ‘library lates’, film screenings, music events, coding clubs and a wide range of digital sessions.

CILIP is encouraging everyone who supports their local library to visit their library this Libraries Week, join in the conversation at #LibrariesWeek and sign up to become a Library Champion like Bobby Seagull at LibrariesDeliver.uk

Links to winner entry and runners up

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