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Arts Council and Local Government Association announce successful Libraries Development Initiative projects

  • Date: 13 February 2012
  • Area: National

Arts Council England and the Local Government Association have today, Monday 13 February, awarded £230,000 to fund 13 library projects through the Libraries Development Initiative.

The 13 successful projects are:

  • ASCEL (Association of Senior Children's and Education Librarians) (National)
  • Bournemouth Borough Council
  • Cambridgeshire County Council
  • Consortium led by London Borough of Camden including Islington Libraries; Hackney Libraries
  • Consortium led by London Borough of Richmond Upon Thames including the Royal Borough of Kingston Upon Thames; Wandsworth Borough Council; Merton Council
  • Consortium led by The Reading Agency including Essex County Council - Libraries; Luton Cultural Services Trust Ltd - Libraries; Newcastle Upon Tyne City Council - Libraries; Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust - Libraries; Studiolift; Faber; Bloomsbury Publishing; Little Brown Book Group; Random House Group; Pan Macmillan; Booksellers Association; Publishers Association; Society of Chief Librarians (National)
  • Derby City Council Libraries in partnership with QUAD
  • Fresh Horizons (Yorkshire)
  • Newcastle City Council in partnership with Manchester City Council
  • Portsmouth City Council
  • Public Libraries Health Group (National)
  • Publishers Association (National)
  • Writing West Midlands

You can download a list of the projects and amounts awarded from the Libraries Development Initiative funding page.

Designed to test new approaches to library service delivery, these projects will look at ways libraries can work together with arts and other cultural organisations to enrich the way that people experience arts and culture. They will explore innovative, locally appropriate and enterprising ways of working, resulting in a resilient vision for future public library services.

The Arts Council assumed responsibilities for museums and libraries, formerly held by the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA), at the government's request on 1 October 2011. The Libraries Development Initiative builds on the MLA and Local Government Association's Future Libraries Programme to look at new approaches to public library service delivery.

Following receipt of expressions of interest, Arts Council England invited 19 applicants to make a full submission. They requested a total of £339,743 against a total budget of £230,000.

We publish Opening up a new world: public libraries connecting housebound people to the networked nation

Also today, the Arts Council has published a summary report of Opening up a new world: public libraries connecting housebound people to the networked nation. This is a project initiated by the MLA and now managed by the Arts Council to provide skilled library staff and volunteers as coaches to elderly and housebound people in connecting to the internet.

The project had a huge impact on the lives of participants who found new ways to be in touch with friends and family, and to forge links across generations and geographies through their public library provision. The full report can also be downloaded here.

This is a partnership project with Race Online 2012, the BBC, the Society of Chief Librarians (SCL) and Microsoft, in response to statistics outlined in The Race Online 2012 Manifesto for a Networked Nation, which stated that over 10 million adults in the UK have never used the internet, of whom 39 per cent are over 65.

Through the projects funded by the Libraries Development Initiative and other initiatives such as Opening up a new world: public libraries connecting housebound people to the networked nation, libraries will build on the best of current practice to create a vibrant, sustainable, 21st century public library service.