14 libraries are to partner with universities to engage their local communities with research, under the Engaging Libraries programme.

The Wolfson Foundation recently partnered with Carnegie Trust UK and Wellcome in the £500,000 funding programme to encourage and cultivate new ideas, curiosity and critical thinking, and build on libraries’ core ethos of encouraging and sharing learning. 

Almost half of all UK library services applied to take part in the programme which builds on the successful Engaging Libraries pilot which ran during 2017-18, and total of 14 projects from the Western Isles to Cornwall will receive funding to deliver public engagement projects with research in health, society and culture, and to foster partnerships between public libraries and researchers.

The portfolio of funded projects will cover a wide variety of topics from fake news and air quality to the menopause and multilingualism and will engage people with children’s literacy, culture and identity and more, in creative and inspiring ways.

Paul Ramsbottom, Chief Executive of the Wolfson Foundation said: “We are delighted to be working in such fruitful partnership with Carnegie and Wellcome. These are important and intriguing projects, with a wonderful regional spread and tackling some complex, challenging, crucial issues for society. We also hope that these projects will act as exemplars for how public libraries and research institutions can work together.”

Sarah Davidson, CEO of the Carnegie UK Trust said: “Engaging Libraries is all about giving people the opportunity to access, use and respond to research. Libraries have a unique position as trusted, safe spaces at the heart of our communities, and this programme is designed to help people explore new ideas and even play a role in influencing research.

“The process will also give university researchers a great opportunity to make connections between their ideas, research findings and the knowledge and experiences of local communities. We are really looking forward to working with all the winning projects.”

Simon Chaplin, Director of Culture & Society, Wellcome said: “We are delighted to be supporting a second phase of Engaging Libraries with the Wolfson Foundation and Carnegie UK Trust. We saw a strong demand from the library sector in how they could connect together people’s ideas and interests to research; we hope that this helps stimulate new partnerships and ideas and changes the way libraries can develop their social innovation role.

The library services selected to be part of Engaging Libraries will undertake a three to six month development period, supported by the Engaging Libraries team and a bespoke programme of events and workshops to further develop and refine their project ideas before launching their activities.

To find out more about Engaging Libraries visit the Carnegie UK Trust website.

For more information contact Nicole Anderson at Grayling on cukt@grayling.com or 0131 226 2363

The projects that will be participating in the Engaging Libraries programme are:

Calderdale Libraries ‐ Let’s Clear the Air ‐ learning to research, interpret and evaluate data to improve air quality

City of London Libraries ‐ Bumping Spaces

Cornwall Libraries ‐ AccessLab for Libraries

Fife Cultural Trust ‐ Pause not Full Stop

Glasgow Libraries ‐ Sharing Stories

Libraries NI ‐ Turning Heads: Hair as Culture and Identity

London Borough of Camden Libraries ‐ Place Shapers

London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham Libraries ‐ Telling the Tale

London Borough of Sutton Libraries ‐ Navigating Information in the Era of Media Manipulation

Manchester City Council ‐ Language Diversity in the City

Redbridge, Kirklees and Newcastle Libraries ‐ Tickets for the Afterlife

Treorchy Library ‐ Fake News ‐ What is it and how to avoid it  

West Lothian Council ‐ Lothian Lugs

Western Isles Libraries‐ Together

The winning projects were selected with the input of an expert Advisory Group including representatives from CILIP the UK library and information association, Libraries Connected, Arts Council England, Scottish Libraries and Information Council, Research England and NCCPE.