Libraries Connected has launched a programme of activities and partnerships as part of the BBC’s The Novels That Shaped Our World festival.
Funded by £253,000 from Arts Council England’s National Lottery Project Grants, with additional support from BBC Arts, the year-long multi-platform project marks 300 years since the birth of the English language novel.
It will also see libraries commission artists, creatives and local partners who specialise in working with vulnerable groups, including refugees, young people at risk of knife crime and adults with dementia.
There will be extensive programme of arts and cultural events across the year, digital resources created by the Reading Agency and BBC Arts, plus digital training for library staff.
To kick off the festival, a BBC-assembled panel will discuss their list of 100 novels that have shaped their world in a live broadcast beamed into libraries across the UK from the British Library on 8th November.
The festival will close with a special celebration in National Libraries Week 2020 and will be followed by a national conference for libraries and stakeholders. The British Library, The Reading Agency, the Booksellers Association, CILIP and the Publishers’ Association are all part of the project.
Mark Freeman, president of Libraries Connected, said: "This amazing campaign lies at the heart of libraries’ mission to deliver innovative and engaging reading experiences to communities who need it most. Yet again, we would like to thank the Arts Council for funding this work which will enable libraries, in partnership with BBC Arts and grass roots arts organisations, to introduce new audiences to the joys of reading."