Innovation Exchange

Maker Space


Key activities

Benefits and impacts


As part of the Communities & Partnerships directorate, Stirling Libraries have a focus on working in partnership with communities and agencies to address local priorities and to empower citizens. Libraries across the district in urban and rural areas are recognised as vital community assets with great potential to support this agenda, and play a critical role in the planned cultural regeneration activity which lies ahead.


There is significant evidence internationally of the benefit that maker spaces in libraries can bring to communities, particularly with respect to economic development, digital inclusion and cultural capacity.


The role which public libraries play in supporting digital creativity and creative industries is well known, but has not yet been explored in Stirling, and this project enables us to showcase our potential in this field to stakeholders and communities alike.  It builds upon existing provision, including ICT classes and workshops, mobile technology support, digital inclusion projects and more.

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Theme: Digital

Activity: Training in 3D printers and 3D scanners for library service staff provided by Go3D Print.

Outcome: 8 members of library and archives staff in various roles and at various levels trained in digital creativity equipment.


Activity: Creation of community feedback cards.

Outcome: 200 feedback cards created for use during workshops and showcase sessions.


Activity: Showcase sessions held at Central Library and Dunblane Library during Book Week Scotland  - using 3D printers, Tinkercad, Thingiverse to print models, keyrings etc.

Outcome: 46 customer interactions. Distributed 65 feedback cards - 12 feedback cards returned.


Activity: Design of workshop programme for children and young people.

Outcome: 6 week workshop programme developed, involving use of laptops, Minecraft, Tinkercad, Thingiverse, 3D scanning, 3Dprinting and 3D doodle pens.


Activity: Design of workshop programme for adults.

Outcome: 6 week workshop programme developed, involving use of laptops, Tinkercad, Thingiverse, Google SketchUp, 3D scanning, 3Dprinting and 3D doodle pens.


Activity: Meeting with Forth Valley College Student Union representatives with a view to engaging with Forth Valley College students to investigate volunteering opportunities.

Outcome: FVC student representatives request training in mobile maker space equipment to help them in being able to promote the volunteering opportunity to students, and target relevant departments and staff members to whom the project may be of interest.


Activity: Taster workshop in St Ninians Library for Stirling Young Carers. Supporting the work of the Reader in Residence (Lisa Ballantyne) to engage with vulnerable young people, promoting literacy, expression and creativity.

Outcome: introduction to the mobile maker space equipment and digital creativity tools. Promotion of the library as a relevant and responsive service.


Activity: Information afternoon for staff and students at Forth Valley College, Stirling campus, including showcase and taster sessions of mobile maker space equipment.

Outcome: Raise the profile of digital creativity opportunities, create new contacts and networks, and advertise specific mobile maker space volunteer roles.

Impact 1: Increased engagement & participation in digital inclusion activities in rural areas.


  • Mobile Library staff have received training in the Maker Space with a view to facilitating access for rural schools and communities.


  • Balfron Community Council requested access to the digital creativity equipment to help with preparing their local community plan and developments.


  • Trained library staff have offered to hold taster sessions for Balfron Community in Balfron Library.


Impact 2: Profile of the library service raised with a wide range of partners, communities and other stakeholders; improved perceptions of the role libraries can play in creative industries, cultural & economic development, and digital inclusion.


  • Showcase events and taster sessions in community libraries have raised awareness of the digital creativity equipment held locally and have created a desire to become involved in using the equipment for self-directed learning and for economic development.


  • Stirling Libraries are now part of a newly merged Service with Culture (Culture, Libraries and Archives). The Maker Space project has received full support from the Culture team and new cultural partners have been keen to become involved with the project.


  • The service is working with Ice Cream Architecture, and other partners, to celebrate the Festival of Architecture, Design & Innovation by supporting a competition to design ‘pop-up’ library installations in the centre of Stirling. This would result in the design and physical build of 3 winning entries but also the 3D printing of the designs of 30 runners-up.


Impact 3: Improved staff skills, knowledge and confidence in digital technologies.


  • Eight members of library and archives staff received training from Go3D Printing in use and maintenance of 3D printers, in 3D scanning and in CAD software relevant to both.


  • Creation of designated digital creativity training suite to provide further training opportunities.


Impact 4: Increase in referrals to economic development and other agencies.


  • Discussion with members of the community during showcase and taster sessions has included signposting to STEP, MAKLab Glasgow, and the Stirling Council Digital Hub, proposed as part of the City Development Framework.


Impact 5: Increased participation levels from Schools and schoolchildren in library activities.


  • Customer feedback cards from local schools have requested a visit from the Maker Space project.


  • We are working in partnership with Education partners to offer local schoolchildren opportunities to access digital technology in line with Curriculum of Excellence interdisciplinary approach to teaching, especially STEM subjects.


  • Interest from children and young people at showcase and taster sessions indicates an interest in accessing digital technology outwith the school environment.


  • We have developed workshops for children and young people which reflects the areas of interest described by feedback or through interaction. The workshop series is due to be delivered through local libraries and community venues from June 2016.

It has become apparent through use that although the digital technology is easily portable in size, moving the 3D printers has had a detrimental effect on the initial performance, and they do require recalibration. To combat this we propose moving the maker space equipment on a rota basis around the Stirling area; this will allow time for settling/recalibration to be built in after each move, and enable activities/workshops to vary from community to community, in response to local demand.


In addition we have invested in transport cases with additional padding and support to minimise the effects of vibration and movement when transporting the equipment.


The project is still being delivered and it is evident that there is a high demand for access to and training in digital creative technologies. The next step of the project will be to ensure that this demand can be met through the use of a volunteer network but also establishing the links so that there is a natural step within Stirling to the next level of digital manufacture and training.

Contact details:

To find out more about this case study, please contact:


Louise Graham

Project Manager, Children and Young People's Librarian

Stirling Council

01786 237543

Case study added to site: June 2016

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