Cambridge EverySpace public consultation

EverySpace Aims

  • A co-managed space on the 3rd floor of Cambridge Central Library that enables the community to connect, share, create and discover.
  • A flexible and adaptable space that has the potential to transform and expand library uses and programming.
  • A space that can help facilitate digital inclusion by allowing people to learn and develop digital skills in technology and media.
  • An accessible and inclusive space that will allow more people and community groups to participate in and deliver programming and become active users of the library.

Stakeholder, Partner and Young People Workshops

We conducted 2 young people workshops and 14 interviews with project partners and stakeholders to build a picture of the potential programming and uses of EverySpace, as well as learning how the existing libraries and spaces are used. These interviews included:

  • Library Development Team,
  • Cambridge Central and March Library Staff,
  • The Library Presents,
  • Cambs Youth Panel,
  • Early Help,
  • Cambridgeshire Skills,
  • 20Twenty Productions,
  • Business and Intellectual Property Centre,
  • Fenland + Young Fenland Cultural Consortium,
  • Health Information Team,
  • Think Communities.
Stills from the series of stop-motion animations produced during the EverySpace Swiss Army Furniture Workshops, where young people created multifunctional model furniture. There are also a few photos taken during the event.  They show:   1) A blue silhouette walking towards a chair that is simultaneously a lamp.   2) A wooden frame on wheels with a colourful handmade “disco ball” hanging from it.   3) The hands of a child holding a cube of fabric, with a pair of yellow scissors in the background.   4) A purple plasticine figure next to a cupboard with a blue panel and three colourful buttons at the front.   5) A desk with a chest of drawers underneath.   6) A cradle with an elongated turquoise pane above it.   7) A group of children sitting around a craft table at the Swiss Army Furniture Workshop.  8) A bathtub cut in half to create an armchair and a stand for a TV screen.   9) Two children working on their multifunctional furniture creations.   10) A yellow silhouetted figure approaching a rocking chair.   11) A blue silhouetted figure approaching a cupboard decorated with a drawing of a sunset and a small book made out of felt.   12) A blue silhouetted figure next to a wooden rocking horse on wheels with a seat attached.
Still images and photos from the stop-motion animations

Quotes from the stakeholder and partner interviews (included in the image):  

  1. "We are struggling with sound and privacy for some of our services. You can see people hold back when they notice the wall doesn't meet the ceiling." Early Help
  2. "The perfect solution would be something that can allow events and workshops programming during library hours." The Library Presents  
  3. "The Conference Room isn't inviting for smaller groups of young people to gather around activities like board games."
  4. "We could arrange workshops for young people run by young people." The Cambs Youth Panel  
  5. "The space is set up in an outdated way... We need to bring people together for learning, with new technology such as tablets or devices." Cambridgeshire Skills  
  6. "We are interested in exploring the ability for people to trial their business ideas in the library." Business and Intellectual Property Centre


Floor plans

Hand drawn illustration of the EverySpace proposal for Cambridge Central Library. On the left-hand side of the image, a man works at a laptop with a woman assisting him. Further down, another man is sitting in a cushioned alcove reading a book. In the distance, a person is teaching a class in front of a white board, to a mixed audience sitting at desks on wheels.
Illustration of EverySpace proposal
A floor plan of the proposed EverySpace at Cambridge Central Library. More detailed description in text.
Plan Layout of EverySpace Proposal: 1:100

The floor plan shows on the left-hand side, a set of workstations and chairs, comfortable seating, and four tables with four chairs around them.

The area is partitioned by a row of alcoves and workstations, and the right-hand side contains more seating, workstations, and two larger tables with four chairs each towards the back wall. There is also a large storage room accessible from both sides.

The image also shows railings for acoustic curtains that can be used to partition the space into smaller areas.

Description in text below
Axonometric Drawing of EverySpace Proposal

The axonometric drawing is a plan of the proposed layout for Cambridge Central Library’s EverySpace from an elevated angle. On the left-hand side you can see a set of mobile general access workstations, half of which are in use. An acoustic curtain creates a partitioned area with mobile benches, which is being used as a breakout space for a Cambridgeshire Skills class. Children and adults are relaxing in the area. Beyond that there is a classroom area, again divided by acoustic curtains, where rows of people on chairs face a person teaching next to a whiteboard.

On the right-hand side, a series of mobile enclosures create sitting alcoves, which are being used a waiting area for an Early Help drop-in. Two of these are occupied by people sitting comfortably, and there is also a small child in the space. A partially opened set of curtains gives access to a consultation area with mobile workstations and chairs. Beyond this, another semi-open set of curtains give access to a separate area where a mobile soundproof booth is securely stored. The room at the back, occupied by two people, is being used as an Early Help confidential meeting space.

Mobile furniture menu

Description in text
Pivoting walls, acoustic curtains and mobile workstations.

Image shows:

  • A drawing of a foldable “pivoting wall”, which can be closed to open up the space, and a photo of one in use at Fore Street Library in London. The image shows a woman closing a bay of shelving to create an open space.
  • A drawing of a set of acoustic curtains, and a photo of a green pair in use at Médiathèque L’Alpha, where they create an enclosed space.
  • A drawing of a mobile workstation, and a photo of one at Fore Street Library in London. The image shows a desk on wheels, a computer chair, and a PC connected to power and data hanging from the ceiling.
Description in text
Mobile enclosures, mobile sink and tea point and mobile benches

Image shows:

  • A drawing of a mobile enclosure, and a photo of two children sitting in one. The wooden unit can be closed and tucked away, but when open it creates two comfortable cushioned alcoves.
  • A drawing of a mobile tea point and a photo of one, with a sink, two taps, wipeable surfaces and drawers.
  • A drawing of mobile benches and a photo of a set in use at the Suhrkamp Verlag Offices. The wooden base doubles as a bookshelf and two people are sitting on the blue cushions on top, while a third person stands by the windows in the background.


Scenario 1

There is nothing currently programmed in EverySpace. The space is being used as a neutral space where people can utilise the workstations for studying, gather around tables to play board games or find a quiet corner to read.

A set of two images, labelled “Programmatic Uses” and “Programmatic Separation”, showing the EverySpace when there’s no programming happening.  The bottom half, “Programmatic Separation”, shows the area highlighted in yellow; the top half, “Programmatic Uses”, shows the layout in more detail. Both halves of the space are labelled “informal library use” and include workstations, seating areas, and tables and chairs.
A design key for the layouts, showing the colour schemes used to represent existing the building fabric, proposed fixed elements and mobile elements, the site boundary, and a proposed hard floor finish.  This is followed by a furniture key, showing how the layout depicts static storage units, pivoting walls, acoustic curtains, a mobile screen, mobile tables, enclosures and workstations, a mobile sink and tea point, and a mobile soundproof booth.
Design key for scenarios

Scenario 2

This scenario shows  EverySpace being simultaneously used for an IT class from Cambridgeshire Skills and an Early Help one-to-one drop-in session. 

  1. Cambridgeshire Skills runs a class for 16 students on laptops, with spill out room for non-computer activities, such as discussions and presentations. A printer, laptop charging station and additional equipment is stored within fixed storage.
  2. Early Help runs their weekly 1:1 drop-in session for young people using 4 workstations. The soundproof booth and meeting room provide spaces for confidential discussions, if required.
The bottom half of the plan, “Programmatic Separation”, shows the Cambridgeshire Skills area highlighted in blue and the Early Help area in yellow. The more detailed layout under “Programmatic Uses” shows that the drop-in space includes a waiting area with seating, an area for the drop-in sessions with four workstations and additional seating, and an area for private meetings with two tables and eight chairs. For the IT class, there is a circle of chairs for group activities, and another area with six tables and chairs in rows of two.

Scenario 3

This scenario shows the EverySpace being used for two simultaneous events.

  1. The Library Presents programmes a performance for 40+ people during opening hours. A performance foyer with refreshments is provided for audiences to retreat to before, during or after the performance.
  2. Business and Intellectual Property run an enterprise market for start-ups to trial their business. Mobile workstations, benches and enclosures are used as displays for products, branding and advertising assets.
 The bottom half shows one area highlighted in yellow being used for a live performance by The Library Presents, and another area highlighted in blue in use for a Business and Intellectual Property Centre start-up enterprise market.  The top half shows the layouts for each of these activities in more detail. The live performance area includes a green room, storage area, stage, sitting area and event foyer. The start-up market includes mobile workstations and seating.

Equipment and digital uses

Two photos, the first of which shows the inside of a recording studio, showing a microphone, stand, and sound insulated walls.  The second photo shows the inside of a similar recording studio, this time with a laptop with sound editing software, a microphone, and a sign that says, “On air”.
1. Podcasting and sound studio