was 'resoundingly successful' in promoting short term reading
initiatives, arts minister Baroness Blackstone has announced.
looked at the 33 library projects around the country funded by the
DCMS/Wolfson Public Libraries Challenge Fund. The projects were
designed to promote the pleasures of reading and library use to new
readers from all walks of life.
The study reported that there 'was significant evidence of creativity
and innovation throughout the programme' and stated that libraries
linked up with a variety of other groups to deliver projects,
including prison services, social services, businesses and voluntary
agencies. More than 70 library authorities and other organisations
were involved in at least one project funded through the programme.
Tessa Blackstone said:
'I am delighted that the study showed such positive results arising
from DCMS/Wolfson funding. It is encouraging that so many public
libraries and reading agencies took up our challenge and came up with
such an interesting range of projects. I am pleased that 11 of the
projects are still being carried out and congratulate all those
involved for the hard work and commitment that they put into them.'
Among the projects were:
- A hip-hop extravaganza, The Beat, at Leeds Central Library. The
project featured breakdance crews, a professional DJ, grafitti
artists and performance poetry
- Talking Eyes in Merton which saw a range of technology specifically
for visually impaired people introduced into the library
- Reading Lifelines which involved rock climbing in Lancashire, rock
groups performing in Bolton and the establishment of reading groups
in a women's refuge and a homeless shelter.
There were also book clubs, cultural events, IT workshops, creative
writing groups, reading groups, storytelling sessions and homework
Resource: The Council for Museums, Archives and Libraries,
administers the Public Libraries Challenge Fund. Its Chairman,
Matthew Evans, said:
'This programme showed public libraries working with partners
including social services, education and community services to create
a lively range of reader development activities, many using ICT in
innovative ways. Libraries are contributing directly to the
Government's social inclusion agenda.'
Last year, the programme awarded grants to a further 16 projects
including those that promoted basic skills, those working with young
teenage readers and those working with children in care.
1. Reading our future: evaluation of the DCMS/Wolfson Public
Libraries Challenge Fund 2001-2002 is available on Resource's
website at www.resource.gov.uk. Resource: the Council for Museums,
Archives and Libraries, administers the Public Libraries Challenge
Fund on behalf of DCMS and the Wolfson Foundation. The Wolfson
Foundation is a charitable trust which promotes the advancement of
health, education, the arts and humanities.
2. A full list of the projects involved in the 2000-2001
DCMS/Wolfson Reader Development Programme is below.
3. The DCMS/Wolfson Public Libraries Challenge Fund was established
in 1997 to give£3m per year for three years to projects to
enhance library services in England. In 2001-2002, over£2m
of this was allocated to the Reader Development Programme. Some
£113,000 was allocated to the Wolfson British History Programme to
create and enhance history collections in public libraries and to
interpret them, in particular, for young people.
4. Key facts about the public library service:
- 58 per cent of the adult population hold library membership -
that's nearly 34 million library tickets. There were 330 million
visits made to libraries in 1999-2000.
- 10 million people, drawn from all ages and social groups, use their
public library regularly - at least once a fortnight.
- There are 4,870 libraries in the UK (including 666 mobile
libraries), plus 16,434 service points in hospitals, prisons, old
people's homes etc.
- There are 121,318,000 books in the public library service, or 2.04
books per person, occupying 3,600 km of shelving, 2.5 times the
distance from Land's End to John o'Groats.
- Visiting the library is the fifth most popular pastime in the UK.
The first four are visiting a pub, eating in a restaurant, driving
for pleasure and eating in a fast-food restaurant.
Projects funded by the DCMS/Wolfson Public Libraries Challenge Fund
Reader Development Programme 2000/01.
The list gives the lead organisation for each project. Many
applications were from partnerships involving several library
Arts and Business London £24,000
Barking and Dagenham £60,000
East Riding £70,982
Hammersmith and Fulham £116,823
Milton Keynes £7,500
National Library for the Blind £61,800
North West Libraries
Book Promotion Partnership £215,992
Prison Libraries Group £53,900
Public Libraries Group £89,506