We believe libraries should be at the heart of society, valued by local communities and providing access to information, learning and culture in a shared and trusted place.

We want to work with the library sector and key partners, including the Local Government Association, to explore this vision for arts and culture working together. The Libraries Development Initiative was an essential first stage in this process.

Libraries Development Initiative

The Libraries Development Initiative ran between March 2012 until March 2013. On Monday 13 February we announced 13 library projects funded through the Libraries Development Initiative.

Together they received £230,000 to test new approaches to library service delivery. You can download a list of the projects and amounts awarded using the link on the right.

Aim of the initiative

The overarching aim of this initiative was to create vibrant, sustainable 21st century library services within the framework of Achieving great art for everyone and Culture, knowledge and understanding: great museums and libraries for everyone.

Successful projects explored how embedding arts and culture in libraries can improve people's experiences, bring benefits to the library service and develop cultural provision in local areas.

The four parts

Applicants were asked to demonstrate their ideas around one of the following four designated areas of activity:

Part 1: new delivery models for arts and culture working together

This looked at new ways that libraries could work with arts and cultural organisations, with the aim of improving a community's experience and its opportunities for engaging with arts and culture locally.

Part 2: coordinating partnerships to achieve national policy outcomes

This explored how libraries could expand their already established role in the local delivery of a wide range of national policy areas, such as through multi-disciplinary partnerships with other local authority departments, community groups, job centres and with arts and culture organisations.

Part 3: books and reading

This explored opportunities offered by co-production projects for libraries as they respond to the challenge to ensure their books and reading offer remains engaging, relevant and exciting in a changing context.

Part 4: commercial partnerships

This considered how libraries can respond to increasing economic challenges in an innovative way, exploring diverse funding streams and the benefits of a resilient mixed economy.

Case studies

We will be adding a series of case studies charting the success of the Libraries Development Initiative here over the coming months: