Exploring the future of libraries as learning & entrepreneurship hubs


In 2012, as a co-founder of Library Lab, we transformed a previously disused 150 sqm café space in the Willesden Green Library Centre into a temporary public community workspace that offered free workshops, lectures, co-working space, and crèche. This combination of uses was aimed at prototyping the future of libraries are learning and entrepreneurship hubs. 

The Library Lab grew to become an integral resource among the local community with an average footfall of 3,000 people per month. Local participation was high, with 90% of workshop facilitators coming from the immediate area, and 80% of participants being local residents. 

Originally intended as a feasibility study through Mayor’s Outer London Fund, the Library Lab grew into an ongoing venture due to its popularity with Brent residents and proven impact on local start-up businesses. The Library Lab was open for a total of 13 months and closed when the Library Centre was decanted for demolishment and reconstruction. Because of Library Lab, plans for an enterprise hub were included in the new Willesden Green Library design.