Print Page | Contact Us | Sign In | Join now
Working Internationally for Libraries Grants

Working Internationally for Libraries Grants

The ability to work internationally has, in the current climate, been a struggle for most public library services across England but the benefits of working in this way are well documented. International partnerships and projects can open up new insights and promote best practice; they share expertise and collections; they open new audiences and promote inclusion and cultural diplomacy.

Travelling Librarian Award 2020 *coming soon*

CILIP invites applications for the Travelling Librarian Award under the Arts Council England funded ‘Working Internationally for Libraries’ project, from public librarians in England. The award aims to revive CILIP & English Speaking Union’s annual Travelling Librarian Award from 2011-2017. The award aims to build relationships between library and information professionals in England and their counterparts in the rest of the world through professional development visits.

Applications will be considered for two awards of £3000 each for a public librarian from England looking to travel internationally for the purpose of:

  • a study tour,
  • to attend an event for professional development, or
  • to work on a collaborative project with an international partner.

The successful candidate will be free to put together their own programme of visits (although help and advice is available).


And the winners for CILIP’s 2020 Building Bridges Grants programme are...

A total of 10 public libraries from all over England applied to be considered for the Building Bridges grants programme under the Working Internationally for Libraries project, funded by Arts Council England. The four winners have been selected by a jury consisting of members from Arts Council England, Public Libraries 2030, and CILIP’s International Libraries and Information Professionals group.

The winning libraries are:

  1. Redbridge Central Library
  2. Oldham Libraries
  3. Barnet Libraries
  4. Oxfordshire County Libraries

The winning projects will build links with libraries in India, Germany, Denmark, Lithuania, and Croatia. Projects include collaborative children’s makerspaces, a new residents toolkit for migrant communities, a study into self-service public access to libraries, and a virtual storytelling project.

The projects were selected based on the quality of proposal, focus on innovation, potential benefits to the library services, their respective communities, and the larger sector, and the ambition to learn and grow by building international connections.

The winning libraries will receive between £7,000 and £20,000 each to work on their proposed time-limited projects and the outcomes will be shared at the Working Internationally for Libraries conference in December 2020 at the British Library.

CILIP is grateful to all the public library services who applied to our first grants programme for international collaboration in public libraries. We have compiled an additional directory of Funding Sources for International Work in Libraries that can be useful for libraries looking to collaborate internationally.


About ‘Building Bridges’ Grants Programme 2020 *closed*

Applications will be considered for three grants of up to £20,000 per organisation or consortium for time-limited projects, which bring together like-minded library services from England and the rest of the world to explore issues and shared goals through innovative ideas. The grants are offered under the ‘Working Internationally for Libraries’ project that aims to raise the profile of library services internationally and to enable a closer relationship with services beyond our borders.

2019-20 Deadline for Applications

Applications open: Monday, 25 November 2019
Deadline for applications: 17:00 BST Friday, 31 January 2020
Successful candidates notified: w/c 24 February 2020
Visit conducted by: December 2020

Download Application Form

Download Application Guidelines

Email completed application forms by Friday, 31 January 2020 17:00 BST to:

Header photo shows libraries student and CILIP member Yi Wu.

Always good to share ideas and practices, we should not limit our activities to our own libraries but showcasing all we do and learning from other countries.

Lesley Sim, Head of Libraries, Heritage and Registration for West Sussex County Council, UK

Contact us