Under the ‘Enterprising Libraries’ scheme, ten libraries will share a £450,000 pot to help them develop local businesses with digital technology. The scheme has already set up a network of ‘businesses and intellectual property centres’ at six libraries across England to provide IT support to entrepreneurs.
The ten libraries, including Devon, Portsmouth, Norfolk, Hull, Northamptonshire, Manchester, Middlesbrough and three in London will each receive up to £45,000. The money will fund such projects as a ‘virtual business information network’ in Portsmouth; an expansion of business support programmes for students in Enfield; and better access to business information across Northampton.
Alan Davey, chief executive of Arts Council England, said: “Libraries are a powerful resource and these projects really demonstrate how innovative, and forward-thinking public libraries are in this day and age. Yes, libraries are about reading and accessing information – but they are also at the heart of their communities and can provide hugely useful tools for aspiring entrepreneurs and existing businesses.”
Funding for the Enterprising Libraries scheme comes from the Department for Communities and Local Government, and the Arts Council.