Bringing You the Daily Dispatch

Dozens of library services and 26 museums to receive £33m government funding

Dozens of library services and 26 museums to receive £33m government funding

Forty-three library services and 26 museums will be given funding in the latest round of the government’s cultural investment fund.

£10.5m will be distributed through the libraries improvement fund (LIF), which helps services upgrade their buildings and improve their digital infrastructure. Local authorities can bid for the money on behalf of their library services. £22.6m will be awarded to museums.

The biggest LIF awards were given to London councils, with Camden council awarded £499,999 and Hackney libraries receiving £499,700. Reading, Chester, Wakefield and Medway services were also given awards of more than £400,000.

Newcastle libraries were given £382,159 to create a new reading facility in a disused part of the Walker Activity Dome. It will also support increased opening hours and create a community space.

“This is fantastic news,” said Christine Herriot of Newcastle city council. The extra funding “will help make the library bigger by bringing unused storage space back into use, give it a new entrance and enable us to widen digital services on offer while putting in place employment support to help residents with training and accessing new job opportunities,” she added.

Hackney’s grant will be used to redesign the interior of Stoke Newington library into “creative, inclusive and innovative new spaces”, according to the council’s website.

“Libraries play an increasingly important role in our communities and have become much more than just places where people can borrow books. This investment in the building will help to ensure that the library is able to carry on serving its communities for years to come,” said Petra Roberts, assistant director for culture, libraries and heritage at Hackney council. “Improved reading, study and children’s spaces, better visitor flow and flexibility as well as access to improved stock, cultural activities and technology will support all library users to have an enhanced experience of the library and its services.”

The funding boost comes as library services across the country are being threatened by cuts as councils face financial struggles. In February, a local government association survey found that just under half of councils – 48% – said that they would have to make cuts to their library services.

skip past newsletter promotion

“We’re thrilled for all 43 library services that have received grants,” said Isobel Hunter, chief executive of Libraries Connected, the charity that represents library services in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. “With upgraded buildings and technology, we can expect to see many more people experiencing and enjoying what their local library service has to offer.”

However, Hunter added that “much wider and longer-term investment in the library network” is needed. “Without a more secure financial settlement for local government, libraries will remain particularly vulnerable to cuts and closures. The next government must take decisive action to avoid a crisis in our libraries over the coming years.”

Source: theguardian.com