Funding to help communities improve their local library

A new fund has just been announced to help community groups develop ideas for their local library.

The Library Innovation Fund was launched at the Citywide Friends’ Group Meeting on 1 October – with just over £100,000 to be divided between the city’s 27 libraries.

The money is designed to allow communities take the lead – and help them improve their local libraries.

Projects could range from buying furniture or equipment to funding activities – and the money could also be used as match funding for a larger project.

There are now Friends’ Groups at 16 city libraries – with many being set up as a result of the council’s community conversations earlier this year.

Where there are no existing Friends’ Groups, the library service will work with residents to support them to bring ideas forward.

A thousand pounds from the fund will be allocated to each Friends’ Group and a further £3,000 available for every library – with bids accepted from community groups, local businesses and individuals.

Seventeen of Bristol’s libraries were under threat in 2017, including Filwood, to axe £1.4 million off Bristol City Council’s budget – but following public opposition, the council announced a u-turn in 2018.

Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees said the council would be working with local community groups and councillors “to transform and modernise the library service into the future” – and the community conversations were the start of the process.

Filwood Library which was under threat from the proposed budget cuts but will now benefit from the new funding.

Deputy Mayor, Councillor Asher Craig, who has responsibility for the library service, said: “As part of our continued commitment to the library service, we are giving local people the chance to improve their local libraries and implement the ideas they would like to see…

“The fund will enable communities to take the lead on putting their ideas into action…”

Applications for funding will open later this month and run until October 2020, with all the projects completed by December 2020.

To find out more go to www.bristol.gov.uk/libraries-archives/apply-for-funding-for-ideas-for-your-library