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 using an action learning approach, supporting engaged libraries to create real plans to identify and develop opportunities within their service
  • Building support and mentoring networks to share knowledge and best practice from across the library sector, neighbouring sectors, as well as wider public, private and voluntary sectors.
  • Creating specialist groups to explore opportunities to develop commissioning of library services in prisons and schools, as well as making the best use of IP resources, venues and spaces, and performance archives

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.

Core programme

The primary way that public libraries can benefit is through the skills development programme. The programme will run across a 12 month period and we are seeking around 10 library services for each delivery cohort.

Training and development will follow a capacity building model, with a focus on using real-life scenarios as the training-ground for new skills.

The detailed programme will be developed with the co-production group and the procured provider, but our outline areas of focus are:

  • Strategies of funding – balancing diverse funding streams
  • Financial preparedness
  • Business planning
  • Cost modelling – ensuring full cost recovery
  • Risk management
  • Market analysis
  • Marketing
  • Contract management and fulfilment.

We have issued an invitation to tender for a training organisation to develop and deliver a core commercial skills programme for public libraries - deadline 28 September.