The Communities Libraries programme will provide£80m of capital funding to improve buildings so that they can offer a broader range of activities to their visitors. The scheme has been developed together with the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA).
Bids should demonstrate how they engage local communities in the plans and could include improvements to allow a diverse range of schemes under one roof - such as reading groups, advice services, local history workshops, mother and toddler groups, community meetings, exhibitions and performances, healthy living workshops, language courses and family learning.
Chair of the Big Lottery Fund, Sir Clive Booth said: 'An increasing number of people are using library services and it is clear that our local libraries are at their best when they act as focal points for community life; providing a range of reading, learning and information activities. Many libraries are already operating in this way; more want to, but lack the capital funds needed to transform or modify their buildings.
John Dolan, MLA Head of Library Policy said: 'We welcome this programme because it supports libraries in their central role at the heart of local communities. It will help them work more closely with local people to ensure they get what they really want from their library service.'
To apply, visit www.biglotteryfund.org.uk.