Makerspace service design

We partner with libraries and their communities to co-create spaces to meet role models, access resources and nurture their passions.

With Brightbox, your library can go from being a place where your community can read about their passions and interests to a spaces to put theory into practice, develop new skills, meet role models and make informed decisions about career opportunities.

Brightbox can help you to:


  • Expand your team with the specialist knowledge to create events and activities relevant to your communities aspirations. We support a local Maker-in-Residence with continuous professional development, technical and digital training, community development, health, safety and safeguarding training, all relevant employer responsibilities including payroll, insurance and technical requirements.

    You gain specialist knowledge, links with creative community and employers, regular programme of activities for visitors and community groups led by the Maker and training from the Maker on how to expand makerspace services and identifying opportunities to connect local authority services.

    Your Maker-in-Residence will support your team with:

    • Sharing tech knowledge and supporting visitors
    • Creating instruction and safety videos for visitors to watch before visiting
    • Demonstrate makerspace capabilities for various stakeholders (manufacturing, innovators, start ups, community groups)
    • Liaising and collaborating with your Community team to create relevant programme of events and demonstrations
    • Ensure high standard of health and safety

    We provide:

    • First aid training
      Regular 1 to 1 meeting
    • Scope for professional development
    • Appraisals
    • Payroll, pension, National Insurance, employer insurance, holiday and other employment requirements
    • Project management support
    • Insight from other makerspaces
    • Midterm and end of project impact reports

    With a maker-in-residence, you gain an extra team member to support library goals and visitors in makerspace, external perspective to help develop and improve services, expert knowledge and experience of technology and resources in makerspace, opportunities to build relationships with employers and community groups, and creative activities for your community

  • We get to know your library, local authority and community to understand how people use your services. In line with the Libraries Connected and Arts Council England's Strategies, we will support you to be the first choice when delivering community services. We consider the wider local authorities and national library strategies alongside your priorities to create a soft landing for communities to access information, digital skills, business support and tech and then provide easy to use recommendations for your visitors on where to take their learning further within your local authority.

  • Building community is more than a social media strategy and monthly newsletter. It’s understanding the barriers to access for the young boy who’s never been to the library, championing the aspirations of the young girl who wants to be an engineer, creating space for experimentation for the mum who just started her new business and helping the man wanting to avoid the landfill by mending his trousers. Realising the stories behind the people will help us to create a service that is accessible to the people who will benefit from the service most. We’ll help you to identify community organisations supporting people with wrap around care and create a strategy for including their voices in your service offering.

    We will work with community organisations, supporting them to conduct feedback sessions with their beneficiaries and/or staff that explore how libraries can better connect with underserved communities. Each group will be supported to create a report exploring areas of improvement across:

    • Community perception of services
    • Marketing, engagement and participation
    • Reaching socially isolated and hidden individuals not in education, employment or training
    • Communities feel confident accessing services
    • Collaboration to support multiple entry-points and wraparound support
    • Connecting community services to identify and fill gaps in provision
  • Lots of you told us that you don't know where to start when it comes to digital literacy. Do you start with children and code clubs? Provide unemployed people with CV writing workshops? Should you be loaning tablets and digital devices?

    When it comes to digital literacy, the options are wide, vast and varying. Individual needs will depend on how much training they've receive so far, what is required of their day to day lifestyle and work environment and everchanging innovation. We'll consult with your community, research their needs and create a digital literacy plan based on what your community wants, industry needs and government priorities.

  • We will work with library staff to complete a makerspace feasibility study, testing all aspects of makerspace design to support libraries with:

    • First choice when delivering community services, following the Libraries Connected and Arts Council strategies
    • Relevant and sustainable hubs for communities to access information, digital skills, business support, and tech.
    • Community-led makerspaces and programming

    The makerspace feasibility canvas will support libraries to learn, research and test:

    • Lean model for creating and embedding a makerspace
    • Asset Based Community Development and co-creation
    • Marketing
    • Service strategy and assets (tech, tools, maintenance and resource sharing)
    • Community Ecosystem (Hub and Spoke): where are services and how can they be better connected to create multiple entry points for wraparound support, skills, entrepreneurship, innovation and employment?
    • Support for improving digital skills
    • Upskilling, reskilling and retraining communities
    • Capacity building: maximising relationships, staff time, mentors and volunteers. Connecting with local and regional initiatives to support delivery.
    • Social Value Added
    • Sustainability: sponsorship, in-kind support, grants and revenue generating opportunities for a self-sustaining makerspace and increasing capacity
    • Confidence-building: learn how to best utilise a makerspace
    • Maker-in-Residence
  • Join us for our regular training opportunities where library services at all stages of providing makerspaces share their experiences and how they’ve overcome challenges. These events are good for working through challenges and finding case studies and evidence to support investment in services. Hear from Library colleagues on how to get started, finance and build community in your makerspace.

    We also provide training and mentor development for heads of service and community leads. By joining our Peer Learning Network, you’ll gain access to safeguarding, health and safety and operation plan templates.

  • The first question we always get is 'What is a makerspace?' and the second question is 'How do we deliver the required Digital Literacy agenda?'

    We can see how these makerspaces and digital literacy are confusing because the answers depend on your community's needs and aspirations. We can take you through the basics of digital literacy and how and why digital literacy strategies differ. We'll build the basics for your team to have confidence talking about makerspaces, innovation, technology, career opportunities in digital and digital literacy. We'll assess where your teams strengths are and where we can help you upskill.

    We can also help upskill your team to:

    • build simple marketing plans
    • measure impact
    • create case studies
    • apply for project funding
    • build community consultation within their current work

Building community-led services requires time, conversations, and lots of learning. We’ll partner and work alongside you to understand who you are, get to know your community and identify opportunities and a clear strategy for designing, funding and launching your makerspace.

How to get started

If you’re interested in any of our services, we recommend getting in touch. We’d love to have a conversation with you about how you can get started including discussing resources, team availability and how to finance your makerspace on a tight budget.

“We are very keen for this to continue. The outcomes for young people and the library are really fantastic. John, Sue and I are really impressed by your enthusiasm and ability to engage with young people so we'd love for it to continue.”

- Nick Partridge, Progressions Programme Manager, Sheffield City Council (2019)

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