Skip to main content

Innovative project will transform libraries

06 September 2022

An innovative project which will transform two Cambridgeshire Libraries by installing state-of-the-art community spaces has moved a step closer.

The County Council has signed an agreement with Jan Kattein Architects to develop flexible and inclusive spaces at Cambridge Central and March libraries as part of the EverySpace project.

A public consultation will take place shortly to determine designs for the spaces and installation work will begin in spring 2023.

The move comes after galleries, museums, libraries and cultural venues across the country were awarded almost £50million earlier this year to improve people’s access to the arts, safeguard cultural assets for future generations and power economic growth through culture.

Cambridgeshire Libraries received £260,000 from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sports, delivered by Arts Council England. The grant will be supplemented by £128,968 of Section 106 funding, which is funding provided by developers and will help deliver the EverySpace project.

EverySpace is centred around adaptable, co-managed spaces that enable the community to connect, share, create and discover. It follows the ‘kit-of-parts’ model, capturing the flexibility and inventiveness of a pop-up within a defined architectural system.

At Cambridge Central Library EverySpace will be on the third floor, with users taking a journey through the library to reach the space. In March Library, EverySpace is a natural fit with the Future High Street Fund which will improve access from the High Street. The design of both sites will be led by the needs of each individual community, with public consultation set to commence in the autumn.

Councillor Tom Sanderson, Chair of Cambridgeshire County Council’s Communities, Social Mobility and Inclusion Committee, said: “I am delighted that this exciting project is progressing. EverySpace will make a huge difference to the way the two libraries are used and benefit residents for years to come.

“EverySpace’s future-proofed design is multi-usable and can serve different groups with different functions, further supporting our priority of making our spaces accessible to all. We will start a public consultation soon which I would encourage residents to take part in."

Gareth Marriott, Director of Design at Jan Kattein Architects, said: "As well as being about books, libraries are spaces for learning and sharing skills, spaces for interaction, spaces for warmth, spaces to enjoy. We are thrilled to be working with Cambridgeshire Libraries and local partners on the EverySpace project, on testing and expanding what each library can be for its local community.