The Australian Research Council (ARC) has awarded over $200,000 to a team of LRG researchers in collaboration with the State Library of New South Wales and the public library authorities of Albury, Yass and Fairfield in Sydney. The project will run for two years, and investigate how the collective wisdom of community members can be best leveraged in the process of designing new public library spaces, be they whole new buildings or existing spaces in need of refurbishment. We have previously discussed on this Blog the importance of physical spaces to many public library users, and for an increasing range of activities and reasons. It’s vital, we believe, that these spaces are designed not only in consultation with end-users, but also with their direct input. As well as increasing the community’s engagement with the project, it can also lead to a better (and more popular) space. The ARC-funded research will road test a series of community workshops to be held in the three public library authorities in order to draw up blueprints and guides for the co-design of public library spaces elsewhere. We’re hoping that ‘co’ will truly stand, in these cases, for community! More about the project can be found here.