Public libraries are a safe, trusted space, where people can come together to think, create, learn and encounter new ideas. Spaces where trusted information can be accessed, such as the library, are increasingly important in an era of fake news and the volume of new ideas and information accessible at the click of a mouse or swipe of a smartphone.
When people are exposed to different or new ideas it can challenge their unquestioned beliefs or ways of thinking and broaden their perspectives. This can then help to cultivate open-mindedness, curiosity and empathy. We see public libraries as a great place for people to engage with new ideas – libraries are already in the business of connecting people and ideas, in a safe, trusted space.
The Carnegie UK Trust is therefore delighted to be working with the Wellcome Trust and Wolfson Foundation to deliver a new round of the Engaging Libraries programme, to encourage people to come into contact and engage with new ideas through their local public library.
The second phase of Engaging Libraries is now open for applications. It is an 18-month programme that provides public libraries across the UK with the opportunity to develop and deliver public engagement projects on research in health, society and culture in collaboration with others.
We are looking for public libraries to work with a researcher and other partners to deliver creative and exciting public engagement activities, which enable people to come into contact with research within a health or society and culture topic. We have included a requirement for public libraries to collaborate with researchers in order to engage people with trusted ideas, as well as building on a broader interest within the sector for public libraries to work with universities.
We hope that by encouraging public libraries and researchers to work together, we can introduce people to new ideas which encourage them to think critically, challenge the way they view something, or simply spark their curiosity, while also enabling universities to involve their community with the outputs of their research or even with the creation of research.
Engaging Libraries Phase 2 offers public libraries funding (up to £25,000 for a single service and up to £50,000 for joint applications) to run a public engagement project on research on health, culture and society. Support is available for identifying and partnering with a research institution, as well as a Development Programme with access to experts through a series of workshops and support with evaluation and measuring impact.
The new programme builds on a successful first round that the Carnegie UK Trust ran in partnership with the Wellcome Trust. This first phase allowed public libraries to experiment with creative methods to engage the public on health and wellbeing topics. Projects enabled people to explore a wide range of topics, from death and body image to brain development and empathy. Engaging Libraries showed us the importance of having opportunities to expose people to new ideas and topics in a safe space, in fun, non-threatening and engaging ways.
You can find more information about the programme, including the Application Pack and details of how to apply on the Carnegie UK Trust website at bit.ly/engalibs. Jenny Peachey from the Engaging Libraries team will also be at the CILIP Conference in Manchester and is keen to speak to conference delegates and answer any questions.
You can also get in touch with the team by emailing a href="mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org>email@example.com or calling 01383721445 – we actively encourage you to get in touch to talk about ideas, applications and answer any questions, so please get in touch! Applications close on Wednesday 25th September at 5pm.