Benthyg Cymru

A co-produced bespoke new website that makes borrowing easier and supports the development of more libraries around the country.

Benthyg Cymru

Let's Set The Scene

Benthyg Cymru is Wales’ Library of Things and has one simple goal - to make borrowing as easy as popping out for a loaf of bread.

​Their vision is to create a Wales-wide network of Benthygs with a branch in every neighbourhood, so wherever you are in Wales, you can borrow whatever you need easily and affordably. It’s a more environmentally sustainable model for using common household tools that also brings communities together to share items, knowledge and skills.

Items available to borrow include gardening and DIY tools, camping equipment and much more - all available to borrow for less than it would be to buy them second hand.

Benthyg is the Welsh word meaning to borrow or lend.

The Challenge

Benthyg Cymru needed a new website to make borrowing easier and to support the development of more libraries around the country.

At its core, the new website we’ve built uses a simple postcode mapping function to find the nearest Benthyg library to where a user lives, along with all the information they’ll need to make borrowing, collecting and returning items easy.

As well as sharing commonly needed but infrequently used things, Benthygs around Wales also bring people together to share the knowledge and skills needed to use and repair the tools. All of the information about regular sessions and events will now also be available online in one place through the new website.

The other, equally important side to this project, was to support Benthyg Cymru’s ambitious plans to expand their network. So, our team has also built a new member area to host all the resources needed for community groups to run existing libraries and a toolkit to help groups to launch new ones.

“With a network of communities running libraries of things across Wales, we wanted the website to make it easier for people to be able to find their nearest library of things and go and borrow something in a really simple way. So it’s an easy online journey from understanding what a library of things is and how it works, to finding your nearest library and borrowing what you need.”

Becky Harford, director and co-founder of Benthyg Cymru

The Tech Bit

  • Low-code development using Webflow - time-efficient, cost-effective and flexible.

  • Webflow CMS is very visual and user-friendly for clients to pick up quickly.

  • Used the website redesign process to also modernise the Benthyg visual brand and create new iconography.

  • Node.js backend system to manage automation for users to be invited to the resource library.

The Outcomes

Benthyg now has phase one of a new site which delivers on the two goals they identified in the discovery sessions - making it easier for users to find their local library, and supporting communities to start new libraries to serve their area.

The website provides an easy online user journey, from explaining the principles of a Library of Things and how it works, to finding your nearest library and borrowing what you need.

Additionally, the creation of a members-only area behind a login enables greater control of resource-sharing.

The flexibility of a Low-code approach coupled with the deep understanding that Big Lemon has built off the Benthyg strategy sessions means that the organisation has a platform which is ready for a second and third phase of development.

“Given the climate emergency we don’t have time to spend years in development - we need to get something working for us now, but also be confident that it can be adapted to grow with us over the next year or two and beyond.”

Ella Smillie, director and co-founder of Benthyg Cymru

Why Big Lemon

“It helps that our values align with Big Lemon’s and we’ve built a trusting relationship - they get what we’re trying to achieve. We like their whole ethos - it’s why we first approached them - they’re an ethical business, they’re pioneering the four-day week and we’ve really valued their flexibility and how dynamically they work.

“The Discovery sessions are really good. We found the project prioritisation really useful - looking at what we absolutely had to have now, what we’d like to add and what would need to be parked for future phases.

“We really liked the co-production approach with Big Lemon which meant we could involve our wider network in the project. That was a real positive for us.

“The process also helped us with planning and making sure that what we’re building now is future-proofed. We’re an ambitious organisation working to make a significant shift in consumer behaviour.”

Becky Harford, director and co-founder of Benthyg Cymru

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