Challenge 7 Update

How do you imagine the role of libraries in years to come?


Following the Synergy Surgery: Future Libraries event which took place at Acomb Explore Library on Monday November 11th and all of the comments, ideas and suggestions we have had on the website here, we’re confident we’ve found a number of ways to improve library services for generations to come.

So what happened in Acomb Explore Library?

What Happened

Following two development workshops and feedback sessions, six teams pitched their ideas in the Dragons’ Den.

Group Four was named the grand winner and their project to create a pop up café for isolated or vulnerable people by reconfiguring library spaces and establishing a referral process with GP surgeries, and charities such as Age UK and Age concern, will now be developed into a pilot.

The remaining projects below have all been invited to work with York Library and Archive Services to develop and implement their ideas. 

Group One

This idea seeks to engage non-readers through surrounding reading with a wider package of activity e.g. a homework club, a reading group, a choir. The aim here is to engage schools and standardise library services so there is greater integration between school and external library services, aiding continuity in a young person’s reading development.

Group Two

This initiative proposes giving over a space to young people for them to shape and curate. The young people involved will learn essential project management skills and in turn make the space more appealing to their demographic.

Group Three

This project imagines alternative uses for library cafes so that they become community hubs. Proposed activities include a pop up technology help centre, where older people struggling with their phone or tablet can pop in to receive help and advice from tech-savvy younger people, and weekly cinema screenings.  

Group Five

Group five’s proposal focused on the creation of a social cataloguing system to help library users discover new books based on their interests and past lending activity. The system would operate via a large, friendly, touch-screen device which would feature reviews and recommendations from other users who have read the same book.

Group Six

This proposal aimed to integrate technology into the library experience in an unobtrusive way. An initial means of doing this would be to create a single point of access library card which helps library staff to make connections between users based on shared interests.


We also have the video summary of the Future Libraries event which can now be viewed by clicking here.


We've also pulled together an infographic of the day's activities which can be viewed here.

We’d like to say a big thank you once again to everybody who gave of their time and ideas. We look forward to working with you to make these ideas a reality.

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