Future Libraries Product Forge


Late admissions welcome, participants can register to attend up until 11am on Saturday

A room full of talented designers, developers and entrepreneurs spending 3 days and 3 nights side by side developing new ideas, overcoming challenges and making new connections - sound good?

Professionals, students, graduates and freelancers are all welcome to join us for a sixth edition of Product Forge and this time we're looking at the topic of libraries.

Libraries are evolving and responding to their user's needs with e-lending, wifi and digital access, co-working and maker spaces. What ideas do you have for the library of the future?

Participants form small cross-functional teams to work on a product prototype over a weekend with support from industry experts at the Scottish Libraries and Information Council and the Carnegie UK Trust.

Use this opportunity to develop your career, gain new skills, network with professionals, meet potential employers or even kick-start your own company!

Participants recieve mentoring, 10 free meals and 24 hour access to the venue, and the top ranking teams can access support to develop their concept further. Register now for an unforgettable adventure!

The Friday daytime element of the event is optional and may be attended in isolation. We'll be running workshops on open data, lean agile development and other topics for all attendees. If you are unable to attend the full event as a participant (eg. Friday evening to Sunday only), please let us know by emailing [email protected]

Students may request a discount concession code here - for all other concessions please email [email protected]


The Future Libraries Product Forge would not have been possible without the partnership and support of:

Carnegie UK Trust
Scottish Library & Information Council
DeviceLab Edinburgh

Data providers

We're grateful to the following organisations for providing data sets released under an open licence:

National Library of Scotland
City of Edinburgh Council
South Lanarkshire Council
Newcastle Libraries


Martyn Evans
Chief Executive of Carnegie UK Trust

Martyn chaired the National Strategy for Public Libraries in Scotland Strategic Group which produced Scotland's first national strategy for public libraries. He also chairs the Advisory Group for Library Lab, a programme to support and develop innovation and leadership in the public library sector. Martyn has previously been Director of the Scottish Consumer Council, CEO of Citizens Advice Scotland, Director of Shelter and a visiting Professor of Law at Strathclyde University.

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Pamela Tulloch
CEO, Scottish Libraries and Information Council

Pamela is responsible for providing independent advice to the Scottish Government on Library and Information Services across Scotland. Previous experience includes working with Glasgow Life, Glasgow City Council and Dundee City Council. Pamela currently sits on the British Library Advisory Board, Carnegie UK Trust Library Lab Advisory Group, University of Strathclyde’s Information Science Industrial Board, First Minister’s Reading Challenge Advisory Group and other library and information related alliances.


Gordon Hunt
Chair, Scottish Libraries and Information Council

Gordon is a Chartered Librarian and worked in libraries in Leeds, Cambridge, Oxford and Glasgow before a period at the National Library of Scotland. In 2008 he joined the University of the West of Scotland, for which he has worked in various roles including University Librarian and Campus Director (Ayr). He is currently Head of External Engagement with responsibility for partnerships, links with FE Colleges and alumni relationships.



Gina Wilson
Senior Project Officer at Carnegie UK Trust

Gina joined the Carnegie UK Trust in 2014,she currently focuses on the development of innovative practice and partnerships, with a particular focus on digital inclusion, enterprise and wellbeing. Gina volunteers within the criminal justice system and also serves as a member of the Children’s Panel, the largest legal tribunal in Scotland. She is a member of the Chartered Institute for Public Relations(CIPR) and is usually to be found with a camera slung over her shoulder.


Gillian Daly
Head of Policy & Projects at SLIC

Since joining the team in 2007, Gillian has been the SLIC lead on digital initiatives and has managed a range of national digital library projects, as well as helping to shape policy and practice in this area. Gillian also chairs the Digital Champions in Libraries group, which has representatives from all 32 local authorities. Gillian previously worked in public libraries and school libraries in roles with a strong digital focus.

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Rachel Nimmo
Digital Access at the National Library of Scotland

Rachel has been working at the National Library of Scotland since 2014 as part of their Digital team. Much of her work revolves around transforming and processing data to make their digital collections as accessible as they can. She has also recently been working with the creation of an interactive display for some of their Moving Image Archive films for their new facility in Glasgow. Rachel is passionate about the opening up of data to make it easier for the sharing, access and reuse of digital material.


Rory Gianni
Director & Creative Technologist at Tirami Limited

Rory is a freelance developer and creative technologist. He has worked with public sector organisations, start-ups, and universities, to help them take their early stage concepts to completion. Rory is passionate about sharing and advocating the advantages of digital technology, delivering training on programming, civic technology, and open data. Rory is a registered Open Data Institute (ODI) Open Data Trainer.

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Jaclyn Kaye
Proprietor, Armchair Books

Jaclyn is co-owner of Armchair Books, a secondhand bookshop in Edinburgh's West Port. She previously worked as a public health researcher and on various digital projects in the public sector, but has since thrown it all away to spend her life balancing precariously on the top rung of a ladder, covered in antiquarian book dust. She comes down for meals.


Ben Seven
Co-founder at Kin, Founder of DeviceLab

Ben is a designer and developer, and co-founded design and web studio Kin. He also built DeviceLab, for the developer communities of Edinburgh — and beyond — to have better access to test their apps and web experiences on real devices.

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Scott Seivwright
Transformation Lead & Lean Agile Coach at Clydesdale Bank

Scott thrives on embedding with organisations and globally distributed teams that are on a journey of change. His passion is leading people to improve organisations by using Agile ideas and re-organising for success in a challenging future. He works in new areas of software delivery and organisational redesign.

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Jamie McHale
Founder at Telaco

Founder of Edinburgh-based business consultancy Telaco, Saltire Fellow in Entrepreneurship. An entrepreneurial leader with a focus on strategy, technology and communications.

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Leah Lockhart
Digital Producer

Leah helps individuals and organisations build capability for effective digital engagement. She currently works with ARK Housing Association, Hyper Island, Relate Lab and more, and was previously the Digital Engagement Manager with the Scottish Government's Digital Engagement Team.

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Event Team

Allan Lloyds
Founder & MD, Product Forge

I'm the founder and managing director of Product Forge - Product Forge run competitive hackathons with a product focus. We nurture talent within Scotland’s digital technologies sector though inclusive open weekends as well as corporate events. The format is simple - pitch an idea, form a team, build a prototype. Our experienced teams make it a unique and engaging experience.

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Michelle Caulfield
Events Coordinator

Events Coordinator for Product Forge. Irish born, moved to Edinburgh in 2016 after studying Event Management & PR in College.

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Jakub Tansey

Born and raised in Edinburgh. Graduated from Edinburgh Napier University with a 1st class degree in Digital Media Global in 2016. Currently working as videographer at Product Forge. I love film and have a passion for storytelling – Always with some kind of personal, creative project on the go outside of my job. With experience in many areas of film production, from editing and sound design to visual effects and virtual reality, I am ready to tackle any videography challenges that come my way.


Anna Grant
Projects Officer at Carnegie UK Trust

Anna joined the Carnegie UK Trust in 2016 as a Projects Officer focusing on the areas of digital inclusion and fulfilling work. Prior to joining the trust, Anna completed the marketing graduate scheme at Centrica and consulted for two start-ups, advising them on increasing their social impact. Anna has a BSc in Economics from the University of Southampton and has recently finished her MSc in Science and Technology in Society from the University of Edinburgh.

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Answers to the most commonly asked questions about attending a Product Forge Weekend event.

  • Is Product Forge a hackathon?

    One of our past participants said that Product Forge was the "hackathon with a twist!" What did they mean by that?

    Whilst we incorporate many of the same elements of a hackathon as you'd expect - the intensity of the experience, developing a technical prototype - we also expect our participants to consider the business case behind what they're building.

    This, in our opinion, is the essence of product development, and closer to the experience you would have working in a startup.

  • Do I need to have an idea to come to the event?

    No, not at all! We'll be providing plenty of support and inspiration to get you thinking creatively, and ideas are developed as teams.

  • I am not technical, will I have anything to contribute?

    Yes, absoutely - Product Forge isn't just about the developers! Products require good design and a solid business case backed with market research. Our participants come from a wide variety of backgrounds and we'll have mentors on hand to help you contribute effectively to your team.

  • Is this only for students, am I too old?

    No! Product Forge is open to all, and whilst the majority of the participants tend to be university undergraduates, we also attract "grey hair" freelancers and other professionals!

    Due to other commitments you may not want or be able to attend into the early hours like our student participants - that's completely understandable, and we just ask that you attend the team check-ins and communicate your availability to us and your team-mates.

  • What if I already have a team, or what if I don't and I don't know anyone?

    Team formation happens at the event, and you don't need to know anyone else who is going. You'll quickly meet new people!

    Whilst you're welcome to attend the event with someone that you'd like to work with, we actively encourage participants to work with people they don't know. We also have strict guidelines on team size and teams need to have a balance of skills.

  • What do I need to bring?

    We provide the food and drink, so all that is absolutely required is a laptop and lots of enthusiasm!

    If you're intending to stay late or sleep at the venue, please bring a sleeping bag, toiletries and a change of clothes.

    You may also want to consider bringing business cards and/or copies of your CV if you're hunting for work.

  • Why are you charging when other hackathons are free?

    Most hackathons run over 24 hours - ours last over a weekend and sometimes even longer.

    Due to the costs of running an extended event and the problems of no-shows and drop-outs when providing complimentary tickets, we ask participants to pay a small cover charge to ensure they're fully committed.

    Even on the basis of meals alone, we feel the tickets are more than value for money. Students can also apply for a concession of up to 80%, and in some circumstances, travel reimbursements can be provided.

  • Do you have a code of conduct policy?

    Yes, we have a code of conduct which participants at our events are expected to abide by.



Join our community

Members receive complimentary tickets to Product Forge events, full access to our Slack community, and exclusive content and support.

Existing members

Please email us at [email protected] and we'll send you a private registration link.

Basic terms

Please note that complimentary tickets are subject to availability; you must be a member at the time of registration and attendance; membership renews on a monthly or annual basis; at this time members must be 18 or over.