The Brief

The library service is re-imagining its role and functions: working in different ways in order to be sustainable and relevant. Hackathons provide an agile, realistic and cost-effective way of generating disruptive ideas, approaching challenges and initiating projects. Our Hackathons bring unusual partners together, along with open data from the public library service, in order to create new ideas for products and services or to tackle a relevant issues for the community.

We have published a full report highlighting the learnings and insight from our first hackathon “Future Libraries Hackathon” (2016) and a standalone route map providing step-by-step questions for those keen to run a hackathon to consider.

We followed this up by supporting Manchester Libraries and Libraries Unlimited to adapt the hackathon methodology to deliver their own hackathons.

The learnings from these events are summarised in Engage. Respond. Innovate: The Value of Hackathons in Public Libraries. The report also explores the broader benefits, limitations and considerations of the approach for libraries; the different ways in which public libraries and staff can be involved with hackathons using UK and international library examples; and signposts a range of useful resources.

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Anna Grant

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