Skip to main content Skip to site map (in footer)

Enterprising Libraries: ten library projects receive Arts Council funding to support the development of local businesses

  • Date: 3 October 2013
  • Area: National
Enfield Library, recipient of Enterprising Libraries funding

Enfield Library, recipient of Enterprising Libraries funding. Credit: Enfield Council

Ten leading ‘Enterprising Libraries’ will receive a share of £450,000 to help local people get started in business, Arts Council England, the British Library and the Department for Communities and Local Government have announced.

Enterprising Libraries supports local economic growth by turning libraries into spaces for the development of business ideas, providing coaching, advice, meeting spaces and IT support for local businesses and entrepreneurs. These funding awards will help more people access these services across the country.

Enterprising Libraries responds to the findings of The Arts Council’s recent research programme, Envisioning the library of the future. It builds on the successful model of the British Library’s Business & IP Centre in London, which supports small businesses and entrepreneurs through the provision of information, business development and mentoring opportunities.

The successful projects will help libraries to make communities more integrated by improving social mobility, and helping people from diverse to realise their potential.

The Enterprising Libraries project has already worked with six core city libraries in Birmingham, Leeds, Manchester, Sheffield, Liverpool and Newcastle to develop plans for a network of Business & IP Centres. The ten new libraries funded will be able to work closely with this network to spread resources amongst communities across the country.

Alan Davey, Chief Executive, Arts Council England, said:

‘Libraries are a powerful resource and these projects really demonstrate how innovative, and forward-thinking public libraries are in this day and age. Yes, libraries are about reading and accessing information, but they are also at the heart of their communities, and can provide hugely useful tools for aspiring entrepreneurs and existing businesses.’

The ten library projects to receive funding include:

  • The London Borough of Enfieldwho already operate various business and individual support programmes. With this funding they will expand this programme, targeting the most deprived areas in the borough, and focus on students as the next generation of entrepreneurs
  • Portsmouth Central Librarywho will create a space dedicated to business in the library, and develop a virtual business information network across Portsmouth, the Isle of Wight and Southampton
  • Northampton Librarieswho will be working closely with the British Library, and will focus on opening up resources to hard to reach groups, including women living in rural areas

See the full list of successful library projects.

Useful links and further information

The British Library

The Business and IP Centre

The Department for Communities and Local Government

Envisioning the library of the future

Follow The British Library, the DCLG and Arts Council England on Twitter.