Atlas: Makerspaces in Public Libraries in The Netherlands
Public libraries want to contribute to an inclusive and innovative society and aim to enable their patrons to acquire the necessary 21st century skills. Dutch public libraries are therefore gradually adding more and more activities to their curriculum, teaching these different types of skills, such as ‘invention literacy’. They also often provide a ‘performative space’ (i.e. a makerspace) for their patrons. This means library spaces are no longer dominated by books, but rather reflect the current development in libraries’ core business, moving from collections to connections in order to serve their local communities. The KB, the National Library of The Netherlands, participated in the KIEM1 project Performative Spaces in Dutch Public Libraries. Stepping Stones of Inclusive Innovation, researching the development of performative spaces in libraries. This project, a collaboration with the Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment at the Delft University of Technology, fits the KBs strategic interests in providing an innovative and socially aware library system.
Important research questions included how public libraries create these so-called performative spaces for inventing and creating, what modifications are needed in terms of interior design and safety, and in terms of programmatic and spatial organization? As well as how do makerspaces connect to particular maker communities? The project results provided insight into spatial and design aspects of performative spaces, which helps public libraries, and ultimately its patrons, to benefit from this new development. This book, the Atlas, presents the results of the research projects with illustrations of the different types of makerspaces as well as providing state-of-the-art information about performative spaces, focusing on the spatial characteristics. It has been an honour and a pleasure to work with experts from Delft University of Technology and we hope and expect the KIEM project has sown the seeds for a sustainable collaboration on the subject of performative spaces in present and future library research. We see the Atlas as a joint starting point for a shared agenda on the performative library space of the future for librarians, designers, patrons and other stakeholders.