From library coffee shop to creative space

Library Assistant, Helene Lagrange, with a member of the library's Royal Society Young People's Book Prize panel.
Library Assistant, Helene Lagrange, with a member of the library's Royal Society Young People's Book Prize panel.

Plans are underway to redevelop the old Library Coffee Shop in Stornoway into a Makerspace and open it again to the community to encourage and support a range of activities for all ages.

A Makerspace is a shared space for adults, young people and children to make, learn, create and explore using a variety of tools and resources.

A number of authorities in Scotland have set up Makerspaces within their libraries, with great success, and the Comhairle’s library service was inspired by these to create a similar opportunity for local residents.

Essentially a Makerspace can take many forms and the aim for the Stornoway Library space is to trial a range of activities and opportunities to see what works best for people.

It will be a flexible space with tables and chairs for people to sit in groups or on their own.

Computers and a Mac with design and editing software will be made available, along with a 3D printer, scanner and graphics tablet.

For the not so tecchie, board games (from scrabble and chess to Carcassonne), Lego and books will also be available.

Kathleen Milne, Libraries Manager, said: “We wanted to make sure the space became a part of the library and was used for the whole community.

“This is just the start - there are lots of possibilities and we are keen to hear from members of the community to see how we can develop the space further.

“It would be good to see regular sessions being offered, such as a morning Reading Group or even a Saturday Lego Club?

“We are planning to run workshops and drop-in sessions for people to learn more about the equipment and would also like to continue to run more regular Code Clubs for children.

“We also want the Makerspace to travel to other libraries, so that residents across the islands get the opportunity to explore the different resources and have fun learning and creating new things together.”

If anyone is interested in finding out more and seeing some of the equipment that will be a part of the new area, a drop-in show and tell session will be held at Stornoway Library on Monday, March 5th from 4 to 6pm.

The 3D printer and scanner will be available along with a PS4 Virtual Reality station and other resources for people to look at and learn about.

If you can’t make the session, you can get in touch with the library at 01851 822744 or library.enquiries@cne-siar.gov.uk.