Hacking a digital future for libraries

New ideas to help libraries re-imagine their role and function will be generated at a hackathon in Edinburgh next week attended by entrepreneurs, students, business people and technologists.

The first of its kind in the UK, the event will take place at technology incubator CodeBase across three days and nights from 13-16 October.

Those who take part will develop new ideas and create prototypes of products and services libraries could offer, or how library spaces could be used differently in future. Participants will also have the chance to pitch live ideas to members of the public at a city centre library during the event.

The event is being hosted by philanthropic organisation the Carnegie UK Trust and the Scottish Library and Information Council (SLIC) in partnership with hackathon experts, Product Forge.

Gina Wilson, senior projects officer for the Carnegie UK Trust and co-host of the hackathon event, said: “Andrew Carnegie’s name is synonymous with libraries. He built 2,500 across the world and believed they outranked anything else a community could provide to benefit its people.

“A century later, the way in which we use libraries continues to evolve. We’re online more than ever before and libraries are providing us with a range of digital services and support. What else could encourage people through their doors to take advantage of what they offer?

“The hackathon is a chance to bring together not only those in the creative and technology industries but anyone with an entrepreneurial spark to help come-up with alternative ideas to help secure the future of our library services.”

Gillian Daly, head of policy and projects for SLIC said: “This is the first event of its kind in the UK and we’re delighted that Scottish libraries are leading the way to develop digital services.

“Libraries play a key role in encouraging digital creativity and supporting digital participation. This event is an exciting opportunity to scope out new ideas that could potentially become a reality in libraries all over the world.”