Community library projects set up thanks to new council funding: Central Library - Children's area

29 Jan 2020

Community library projects set up thanks to new council funding

Thirty new community projects will be set up in libraries across the city in 2020 after benefitting from funding from Bristol City Council.

The Library Innovation Fund was set up to enable communities to develop new and exciting ideas for their local library.

The new projects include a variety of creative ideas and community activities:

  • Virtual reality sessions at Filwood Library
  • Working with young mentors to host reading groups and spoken word workshops at St Paul’s Library
  • An installation and series of events to highlight climate change at Fishponds Library
  • An IT focused English language (ESOL) course for parents, with a free crèche, in Hillfields Library
  • Equipment to hold film and games nights

Up to £3,000 was made available for each library, and where the funding was not fully allocated, groups connected to each library will have another opportunity to apply for funding later this year.

Those applicants who were not successful will receive feedback and advice from the library team to help shape any future bids.

Deputy Mayor, Councillor Asher Craig, Cabinet Member with responsibility for libraries, said: “I would like to thank all the community groups and individuals who submitted a bid for funding, we were very impressed with the variety and quality of the proposals.

“By funding these projects we are looking to create stronger links between the library service and the local community.

“We hope these projects will help us to make greater use of our library spaces, and encourage more people through the doors.

“We hope that this is the start of something quite unique to Bristol where residents can shape a service that is best for their local community.”

Next week the council’s Cabinet will be asked to approve a new city-wide library strategy which aims to modernise the service and take it forward. The strategy sets out the priorities for the next five years, ensuring that the service remains sustainable and relevant to people across Bristol.

The strategy has been shaped by very thorough and informative conversations with residents and city partners, and taken into consideration all the feedback from the 2017 Your Neighbourhood consultation and the community engagement meetings that took place last year.

In her introduction to the strategy, Cllr Craig said: “The library service needs to be more ambitious in order to better meet the needs of its users. 

“Libraries play a unique role in our society, providing us with learning, resources, safe community spaces and digital access. They are about more than books or computers - they are spaces for people to meet, learn and exchange ideas.

“We have heard and seen the passion of communities that want to keep their local library, and this strategy reflects the approach we plan to take over the next five years. 

“I am incredibly proud of Bristol’s Library Service and that includes both our employees and volunteers who help to deliver it.

“I am excited that we are continuing to develop a library service that will continue to play a role in the lives of people across our communities – people of all ages, backgrounds and cultures.”