Library lab network extended across the county

Gloucester County Council Press Release – 24 January 2022

More libraries in Gloucestershire will have dedicated ‘lab’ areas for people to access creative technology and boost digital skills thanks to investment from the county council.

There are currently two Innovation Labs in the county – one at Coleford Library which opened in July 2019 and another that launched last year at Gloucester Library.

The network is now being expanded by the county council so there is a lab in every district in the county.

New labs are due to open in spring this year at libraries in Tewkesbury, Stroud, Cheltenham and Chipping Campden.

The Innovation Labs work with schools, businesses and the community, offering free support with digital skill development. Equipment available includes virtual reality headsets, 3D modelling and printing, as well as a digital design studio, with experienced lab technicians on hand to advise, train and inspire.

They also run a membership scheme for individuals, businesses and students offering dedicated time with the equipment and technical support. The labs offer the opportunity to make connections with other members and be part of a growing creative community.

Cllr Dave Norman, cabinet member for libraries, said: “Each lab will work with key partners, such as the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP), with a focus on supporting those most impacted by the pandemic – small businesses, creatives and artists, job seekers and young people.

“We welcome further partners from the Gloucestershire business community and education sector to work with us – especially with local connections to the different communities in each of the six lab locations.”

Jane Everiss, Head of Library and Registration Services, said: “The success of the pilot at Coleford lab and current engagement with our Gloucester lab really highlights the need for individuals of all ages and abilities to have access to high quality digital technology and skills.

“Being able to offer this support more widely across the county in our libraries will add real value to the services we provide and have a hugely positive impact on our local communities.”

If you’d like to find out more about this exciting programme as a business, potential lab technician or partner, please email info@innovationlabnetwork.com