A SCHEME to help future-proof public libraries has been launched by the Carnegie UK Trust which has £200K to give away.

Applications have opened to enable public libraries across the UK and Ireland to help future-proof their services.

The three year funding programme, ‘Carnegie Library Lab’ will create partnerships with up to 15 public libraries to support innovative practice and show that book lending is only one of many services that libraries can deliver.

The initiative will also pilot a new programme of online learning material to encourage innovation and leadership amongst library staff. This resource will be developed using material from the International Network of Emerging Library Innovators (INELI) initiative run by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation as part of the Foundation’s Global Libraries programme.

Director at CyMAL, Linda Tomos, said: “Libraries provide a vital ‘safe space’ within communities and people value them greatly. The role of libraries in the 21st century is changing, going far beyond traditional book lending, and we are seeing increasing innovation from librarians to ensure our libraries continue to deliver for the people they serve today.”

Chief executive, Carnegie UK Trust, Martyn Evans said: “Public Libraries have come under scrutiny in recent years with reporting on funding cuts and closures. Despite this, libraries are essential sources for learning and information, and they contribute towards community wellbeing. But times are changing and libraries need to be thinking more about how they can future-proof their services. Carnegie Library Lab will provide funding, training and mentoring to help libraries utilise their space in new ways and develop their service and how they deliver it.”

Librarians applying for the funding must submit an innovative idea that finds a new way of using library space; demonstrates a new way of delivering a public library service; brings new activities to the library; or involves an innovative partnership.

Funding decisions will be made in 2014 and 2016, with projects taking place between 2014 and 2017.

Applications close on September 30, 2014.

For details, visit www.carnegieuktrust.org.uk