As we approach our annual season of netloan user groups, we’re excited to be holding this year’s events in some distinctly modern and innovative library environments. These libraries illustrate how recent investment in local library service provision has achieved a massive contribution to the local economy and their communities. We’d like to take a moment to highlight what makes them so special.
The Curve, Slough
The London and South East user group takes place at The Curve in Slough which opened at the beginning of September. It is heralded as being the centrepiece of the 'Heart of Slough' regeneration scheme, a £1bn project which aims to give the city centre a full makeover.
The library building itself is a £22million project. In addition to the central library services, there are community learning rooms, registrar services and wedding room, a tempting cafe and garden area. It also houses a large performance and multi-use space, known as ‘The Venue’ where – thanks to our kind hosts at Slough Libraries – we are fortunate to be holding our user group.
The building is described by its architects as a “flared accommodation ‘tube’ with welcoming fully glazed entry facades”. The design of the overall space incorporates two outdoor public squares, with the library providing a pedestrian indoor ‘street’ which joins it all together. As well as encouraging greater footfall, it can be interpreted as being symbolic of the library's role, pivotal to progressing the mobility and vision of a city’s population.
Central Library Hub, Cardiff
Meanwhile, our user group for customers in South West and Wales is being held at Cardiff’s Central Library Hub. As with the Curve in Slough, it provides an invaluable focal point for its community, offering opportunities for learning, live music, genealogy, as well as creative spaces and meeting facilities for local businesses. First opened in 2009, the iconic design of the building features energy sustainability and great views of the city.
The user group for this region is to be held in the Creative Suite on the library’s Digital Floor which features 75 public computers, 10 tablets, a plasma wall with news and content and a 3D printer. No doubt it will be a stimulating and productive environment for this year’s event.
With thanks to all our regional group hosts this year – including also Doncaster Libraries for Northern and Midlands at the award-winning Doncaster Museum and Art Gallery, and Glasgow Life for our customers in Scotland at the prestigious Mitchell Library. Your help and support is very much appreciated.
Importance of getting together
The user groups are the ideal forum for sharing our plans and exploring what matters most to our library customers. Attendance is always strong, and provides an unrivalled opportunity for library authorities across the country to discuss important needs and aspirations when it comes to their technology arrangements and partnerships. Over 60 public library authorities were represented across the four regional groups last year and each time we welcome wider participation across the public library community. We look forward to getting together again this autumn.
And finally, a case study in smart planning
On the topic of forward-thinking library services, we’re delighted to be able to provide a new case study on how Lancashire Libraries are embracing the BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) trend.
Lancashire Libraries launched a new wireless printing service earlier this year, rolling out netloan Wi-Fi print to an initial two library branches. This was in recognition of the need for users to be able to access printing services in the library, regardless of the device being used – whether it’s a library PC, a personal laptop, tablet or smartphone. Continuing to provide adequate printing provision was an integral part of a much larger refresh project, and we were delighted to work closely with the authority to help realise their plans. It’s a wonderful example of holistic forward planning that makes all the difference to how library services are received and used by their customers.
To read more, you can access the full case study here.