Cambridgeshire: Community spaces in libraries are getting closer

10:30 a.m. September 7, 2022

An innovative project that will transform two Cambridgeshire libraries by installing state-of-the-art community spaces has come closer.

Cambridgeshire County Council (CCC) has signed an agreement with Jan Kattein Architects to develop flexible and inclusive spaces in Cambridge Central and March libraries as part of the EverySpace project.

A public consultation will take place shortly to determine the design of the spaces and the development work will begin in the spring of 2023.

CCC Communities, Social Mobility and Inclusion Committee Chair Cllr Tom Sanderson said, “I am delighted to see this exciting project moving forward.

“EverySpace will make a huge difference to how both libraries are used and will benefit residents for years to come.”

EverySpace is centered on adaptable, co-managed spaces that allow the community to connect, share, create and discover.

At Cambridge Central Library, EverySpace will be on the third floor, with users walking through the library to reach the space.

In March Library, EverySpace fits naturally into the Future High Street Fund, which will improve access from the High Street.

Gareth Marriott, Design Director at Jan Kattein Architects, said: “In addition to being about books, libraries are spaces for learning and sharing skills, spaces for interaction, spaces for warmth and pleasure spaces.

“We are delighted to be working with Cambridgeshire Libraries and local partners on the EverySpace project, to test and develop what each library can be for its local community.”

The move comes after galleries, museums, libraries and cultural venues received nearly £50million earlier this year to improve people’s access to the arts, protect cultural assets for future generations and boost economic growth through culture.

Cambridgeshire Libraries have received £260,000 from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, donated by Arts Council England.

The grant will be complemented by £128,968 of Section 106 funding, which is developer-provided funding and will help deliver the EverySpace project.

Cllr Sanderson added, “EverySpace’s future-proof design is multi-usable and can serve different groups with different functions, further supporting our priority of making our spaces accessible to everyone.”

The design of both sites will be guided by the needs of each individual community, with public consultation expected to begin in the fall.

“I encourage residents to participate in the consultation,” said Cllr Sanderson.

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