The Carnegie UK Trust is starting a new £200,000 project to help expand the role of public libraries.
A three-year funding programme, Carnegie Library Lab, will create partnerships with up to 15 libraries looking to develop "innovative practice."
Libraries will be able to apply for a grant during September, submitting an idea for the library which finds a new way to use the space, offers a alternative method to deliver the library service, brings different activities into the library or involves a new partnership.
Ciara Eastell, president elect of the Society of Chief Librarians, said: "Libraries provide a vital ‘safe space’ within communities and people value them greatly. The role of libraries in the 21st century is changing, going far beyond book lending, and we are seeing increasing innovation from librarians to ensure our libraries continue to deliver for the people they serve today.”
Martyn Evans, chief executive of the Charegie UK Trust added: "Public Libraries have come under scrutiny in recent years with reporting on funding cuts and closures. Despite this, libraries are essential sources for learning and information, and they contribute towards community wellbeing. But times are changing and libraries need to be thinking more about how they can future-proof their services. Carnegie Library Lab will provide funding, training and mentoring to help libraries utilise their space in new ways and develop their service and how they deliver it."
The new initiative will also include a new programme of learning resources for library staff, using material from the International Network of Emerging Library Innovators, run by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundations.
Funding decisions for the Carnegie Library Lab will made made between 2014 and 2016, with projects set to take place between 2014 and 2017.
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