Edinburgh's Digital Toybox wins Carnegie Trust

David Hayden from Edinburgh Libraries & Information Services has beaten off tough competition to win funding from the Carnegie UK Trust to help future-proof the city's library services and promote the Council's new project, Digital Toybox.

The plan for Digital Toybox is to create a series of ‘mobile makerspaces’ across the Edinburgh Library network which can be taken into schools and encourage teenagers to learn new skills through projects presented in a hands on and high impact way. Young people can develop programming skills, learn about robotics or work on developing a smart phone app in a creative learning environment.

The Council project is one of seven projects selected from across the UK and Ireland to benefit from the funds which form part of the Trust’s ‘Carnegie Library Lab’ project. A three year funding programme, the initiative aims to support innovative library practice, create partnerships and demonstrate the diverse and varied services that libraries can deliver for communities.

Some of the other projects to benefit from the funding include a library bike which will see library services taken out into the community, an after-hours writers support group and a community-led coding group.

David Hayden, Library Development Officer, Edinburgh Libraries said: “Our aim is for six libraries within Edinburgh to become technology hubs each with a Toybox developed around a specific creative design theme. Themes could range from video work, app or game design, programming skills, to music editing

“Promotion of the Toyboxes will be done through a programme of school visits using dynamic hands on, high interest projects demonstrating the technology in immediately accessible ways. One of the keys to success will be that use of the equipment is intuitive enough to encourage teenagers to return to the library to develop their own learning.”

Councillor Richard Lewis, Convener for Culture and Sport at the City of Edinburgh Council added: “Edinburgh’s library staff work tirelessly to deliver important services that support local people. The Digital Toybox project is a perfect example of how staff are constantly looking for new ways to innovate library practice and encourage learning, and I’m delighted for David and this very worthy achievement. In these times of strained budgets, the share of funding from the Carnegie UK Trust is hugely welcomed. Embracing technology for learning and leisure is something Edinburgh’s libraries are frontrunners for, and this award proves that.”

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