Public libraries backed with major grants

Public libraries backed with major grants

February 2013

Public libraries are set to receive a boost of almost £1 million with two awards
to flagship projects in Birmingham and Manchester, it is announced today
(20 February 2013). The funds will assist in the construction of a new public
library in the centre of Birmingham, and the major refurbishment and extension
of Manchester's historic Central Library.

The awards will help to provide world class library facilities in the heart of two
of the country's major cities. The funding from a charitable funder also makes
a strong statement about the continuing value and importance of public
libraries to British society at a time of financial pressure on these services.

The Wolfson Foundation has a long history of support for libraries and archives
as part of a wider programme of support for the arts. During the early 2000s, in
a joint programme with Government, over £6 million was invested in IT
equipment for public libraries.

Paul Ramsbottom, Chief Executive, the Wolfson Foundation, said "Public
libraries continue to play a crucial role in British society. In backing these two
excellent projects, we hope that other funders might join us in supporting high
quality initiatives at public libraries at a time of acute funding pressure for
these great institutions. These projects help to show the future shape of public
libraries at a time of debate about their future role."

Keith Bradshaw, Chairman of The Library of Birmingham Trust, commented,
"The Library of Birmingham will redefine the concept of a library for the 21st
century and is one of the most exciting projects our city will ever witness. With
the support of the Trust, it has the potential to transform the lives of thousands
of people and the Trustees are enormously grateful to the Wolfson Foundation
for its generous and important support."

Councillor Rosa Battle, Executive Member for Culture and Leisure,
Manchester City Council, said: "We are extremely grateful to the Wolfson
Foundation for this additional funding. It is a tremendous boost for the
landmark Central Library transformation project and reflects its national
flagship status. It will enhance the work that we are already undertaking and
ensure that we can provide the gold standard for what is on offer in our iconic
library when it is relaunched in early 2014."

More about the Library of Birmingham project can be found here.

More about the Manchester Central Library project can be found here.