Libraries Connected is using a £150,000 Arts Council England grant for a training and mentoring programme helping services develop funding strategies.
The Future Funding programme will be designed and delivered by the charity in partnership with expert partners from the public, voluntary and commercial sectors. The programme will help libraries to generate income in new ways.
It will see in-depth training provided to over 25% of library services in England, covering topics such as contract management, cost modelling, market analysis, risk management and marketing.
Mark Freeman, president of Libraries Connected, said: “Our members are crying out for help to manage the risks in business development and to ensure that our public service values remain at the heart of our income generation activity. As a head of service, I know how important it is to make sure that we get the right balance between income generation and delivering our core offer.”
Latest figures released by the Chartered Institute of Public Finance & Accountancy estimate funding for public libraries has fallen by over £255m since 2010 as austerity policies bit. In many libraries this is a third of their budget.
The first stage of the programme will begin immediately and run until March next year. Libraries Connected plans to begin the training programme with a conference in April 2020.
Francis Runacres, executive director for enterprise and innovation at Arts Council England, added: “The Future Funding programme has been developed to support library services in identifying and responding to the challenges they currently face, running alongside their core activity. It will help services to use their existing skills and to develop new resources while exploring the options for becoming more resilient."