Today we welcome the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) announcement of a further £4.9 million for 27 library services from the Libraries Improvement Fund.
This is the second round of the £20.5 million Fund, which supports library services in England by helping them upgrade their buildings and improve digital infrastructure. In the first round 25 library services received a total of £5 million. The grants are administered, awarded, and monitored by Arts Council England, with funding provided by DCMS.
Among this round’s recipients are Essex County Council, which will receive £337,500 to install an interactive learning and play space at Colchester Library, and Stockton-on-Tees, where £50,000 will allow the library service to update and develop its collaborative workspace with new equipment, new programmes and opportunities for library users to engage with technology.
Isobel Hunter MBE, our chief executive, said:
We’re absolutely delighted for all 27 library services that have been successful in this round of the Libraries Improvement Fund. This funding will have a real impact in their communities, leading to more accessible, innovative and inclusive libraries. We can’t wait to see their plans take shape.
But we also warn that the funding does not make up for real terms cuts in local authority budgets and call for a more sustainable financial model for libraries.
Isobel Hunter continues:
While competitive funds can make a huge difference for recipients, without a more secure long term financial settlement many councils will have no option but to consider making cuts to frontline public services, including libraries. We need Government to take decisive action now to avoid a crisis in our libraries over the coming years.