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Stoke-on-Trent Libraries awarded LibraryOn grant to improve online presence and discoverability

Published: Friday, 9th June 2023

Stoke-on-Trent Libraries have been awarded £20,500 to complete exciting digital projects. It is one of 27 public library projects to receive funding from the £1.09m LibraryOn grants programme.

Supported by Arts Council England and facilitated by the British Library, the LibraryOn fund enables library services to boost their digital presence and enhance their discoverability for new and existing users. Launched in March 2023 with a total value of £1,080,846, the grants programme invited library services and consortia to apply for between £10k and £70k of capital expenditure.

Stoke-on-Trent Libraries have been awarded £20,500 to be used on several projects, including:

  • Updating the current Libraries Online website to make it easier and more intuitive for library customers to use and find information about library services.
  • Introducing the Solus library app which will enable libraries to issue digital library cards, reducing the amount of plastic they use.
  • Working with a local company to create 2D floorplans and 3D virtual walkthroughs of libraries that will support all library users to navigate library spaces and feel comfortable to visit their local public library.
  • Work with a local photographer to capture a range of photographs in and around libraries to help demonstrate the huge range of services that libraries have to offer.

Stoke-on-Trent City Council Leader Cllr Jane Ashworth commented:

“We are delighted to receive this funding from the LibraryOn grants programme. This money will allow us to enhance our digital presence and support future promotions of the service out in the communities of Stoke-on-Trent.

“Projects will begin next month with the aim to be completed by December.”

Grants have been awarded to library services across England and the projects vary from website developments, library apps and virtual tours to artificial intelligence and search engine optimisation to improve user experience.

Liz White, Head of Public Libraries and Community Engagement at the British Library, said: ‘We’re excited to see this grant award for library services in areas across England, balancing investment in core offers with a wide variety of opportunities for digital innovation, user research and shared learning about ways of working.  This reflects our north star goal to increase the number of people using public libraries and raise awareness about their enduring value and importance.’

Luke Burton, Director, Libraries at Arts Council England, said: ‘We are delighted to see such an exciting range of digital projects and improvements being funded through the LibraryOn grant scheme which is supported by the Arts Council’s overall £3.4m award to the British Library. The team has been progressing the development of the LibraryOn platform at pace over recent months and allowing digital improvements and potential future integrations are critical to the next steps of demonstrating the value and uses of a single digital presence for public libraries in England. I look forward to seeing all of these projects progressing.’

LibraryOn is a not-for-profit initiative aiming to increase the number of people who use libraries, both in person and online. The LibraryOn website will continue to provide a ‘shop window’ for public libraries at the national level, while the grants programme funds digital work and improvement at the local level. More information about the project can be found here: https://www.bl.uk/projects/library-on.