Lambeth'sLibraryThe Lambeth Challenge


About the tool

The Lambeth Library Challenge is a co-design tool that Lambeth Council commissioned to help get more residents and communities involved in:

  • deciding what libraries in Lambeth will look like in the future
  • deciding how money (which is ultimately their taxes!) is spent on libraries

The tool is open to everyone but will also be used in public co-design meetings and workshops with local residents across Lambeth and will be sent to local schools to reach as many people as possible.

For those who take the library challenge, the application give them a real insight on what it costs to run libraries in Lambeth but, most importantly, it gives the user a chance to work together with the council to make decisions.

The tool is based on real budget data from Lambeth's library service to give users simple but realistic choices to make.

The platform is flexible and Lambeth has ambitious plans to use the tool to help design other council services in the future. With a drive across all public services to get communities more involved, this simple but powerful tool makes it easier for the public to be engaged and involved on a mass scale for the first time in meaningful co-design.

From a technical perspective the tool is cutting edge: hosted entirely on cloud based services - the application component is written in node.js, connected to MongoDB & Redis instances to store the data. A content distribution network is utilised to allow the rich images/animations to be delivered efficiently. On the browser side the code integrates tightly with jQuery to allow clean and robust animations. The html5 history api is used to transition between pages, gracefully degrading to support older browsers.


Lambeth Council and web developers White October are working together to make the tool available for other local authorities, the wider public sector or anyone who is involved in delivering services to the public to use when engaging with their residents or service users. For more information, please contact White October on 0845 838 1703, or