DATA Play 9
Libraries and city challenges

The STEM Hub, City College Plymouth

Friday 26 October 2018
9am to 4.30pm

DATA Play 9 was a great day with some reflection on past challenges and some really interesting discussions around open data in libraries. The day was supported by our colleagues from the Library Service and it was great to see so many new faces attending their first play day. Once again the STEM Hub at City College really helped set the mood for the day, lending itself to creativity and digital networking.

The day included talks from:

  • Mandy Macdonald (Plymouth City Council): Introduction to libraries and what’s happening with open data in libraries
  • Dave Rowe (Libraries Hacked): Introduction to Libraries Hacked
  • Claire Back/Laura Norman (Plymouth City Council’s library service): Setting out the challenges libraries face, meet the kids of code club
  • Andy Wood: An update on the You Curate project
  • Leigh Cooper: An update on the Minecraft in Schools project

DATA Play 9 challenges

Measuring the impact of libraries

  • Libraries collect a lot of quantitative data about how many people are using them such as visits, books borrowed and computer use, but is it possible to measure the impact they have?
  • Can we use technology and data to measure the impact that library use has on individuals?
  • The library offer includes activity around digital, information, health and literacy. Is it possible to use data to discover more about the contribution libraries make to the city?
  • How can we combine existing data with library data to become more responsive to communities and deliver services according to local needs?

Telling stories

  • How can visualisation and mapping tools be used to help people understand more about libraries?
  • Can we use data to tell interesting stories about libraries that will engage local people and communities?
  • Are there any library datasets you would like to see released?

Library use

  • Libraries are open to anyone, you don’t need to be a member to use the library space or attend an activity. While this is one of their biggest strengths, it also makes it hard to know who is using them and how. Could this be understood better?
  • Is there a way of using technology that will help us to understand how people are using the library space?
  • What is the best way to count visitors to libraries if they don’t borrow books or use a computer?
  • How could we find who isn’t using libraries, where they are and why that might be?
  • How can we use technology and data to make it easier for people to discover what’s available at their local library?

City challenges

We’d also like you to look at all our previous DATA Play challenges.

  • Which ones are particularly important?
  • Can you think of any more city challenges?
  • Have you got any ideas for solving the challenges that you’d like to explore?

View the previous challenges

This work is supported by the Department for Communities and Local Government through Delivering Differently in Neighbourhoods funding and Local Planning Reform funding.

Rewards and prizes

On the day we were offering prizes and rewards if people completed the eight mini tasks we set:

  • Produce a visualisation from the data we’ve opened on the DATA Place or another data set that is related to the city
  • Submit an idea or solution to a challenge
  • Think up a new city challenge that is related to open data or technology
  • Suggest a dataset to open on the DATA Place, this can be a Plymouth City Council data set that we might hold or one from your own organisation
  • Speak to someone you don’t already know
  • Attend a talk
  • Contribute to the favourite places map
  • Provide feedback on the day

Keep up to date

Follow us on Twitter @plymccplanning #DATAPlay or sign up for email alerts

Get involved

For more information on how to get involved with our DATA Play days email


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