Future Funding programme

Future Funding is an Arts Council England funded programme delivered by Libraries Connected to support public libraries to develop the skills, abilities and knowledge necessary to take a proactive approach to diversifying and increasing their income. The aim of the programme is to help library services to actively develop and deliver income generation strategies for their services.

To support this we are:

  • Designing and delivering a programme of training and skills development, supporting libraries to create real plans to identify and develop opportunities within their service
  • Running a mentoring programme alongside the training to give further opportunities for discussion and expert guidance
  • Building support networks to share knowledge and best practice from across the library sector, neighbouring sectors, as well as wider public, private and voluntary sectors.
  • Developing strategic and practical toolkits to help library services explore themes and ideas and implement effective income generation strategies

The project will be underpinned by a group that focuses on the ethical implications of the programme. This group will highlight areas of possible difficulty and provide information and tools for library services to make their own ethical decisions.

Our aim by the end of the programme is for the co-production group to continue as a commercial reference group for the sector, with the specialist workstreams continuing according to need, and an ongoing ethical aspect continuing integrated into a wider sector ethical group. Due to the co-production approach we are taking, these aims may shift according to need and resources as we begin to understand the nuances of the sectors needs in this area.

Training programme

We will shortly be announcing 36 library services who will participate in the training programme from September. The training is being developed with a Pathfinder Group drawn from library services across England to ensure it aligns with library needs and interests.

In addition to supporting content development, they will explore the ethical implications and highlight areas of concern so we can create a qualification framework to help assess income generation opportunities.

Content will focus on key areas to support development of commercial skills and facilitate library services revitalising their approach to income generation and include:

  • Business planning
  • Market analysis
  • Understanding value
  • Stakeholder mapping
  • Cost modelling – ensuring full cost recovery
  • Sales and marketing
  • Risk management
  • Marketing
  • Capacity and capablity
  • Governance

Participants will be able to use real-life scenarios to help them develop new skills and apply learnings in context. The programme will run from September 2021 to April 2022.