Share of £20k funding announced for Merton libraries and arts services

Merton Council, in partnership with the library and arts services of Richmond, Kingston upon Thames and Wandsworth Borough Councils, has been given a share of £20,000 funding to deliver an arts activities project in libraries for specific target groups, including those with learning difficulties and children.

The funding awarded by Arts Council England and the Local Government Association (LGA), will enable Merton’s library service to further improve the quality and delivery of arts in libraries for local residents. The successful project is one of 13 recognised under the Libraries’ Development Initiative (LDI). This will pilot innovative opportunities for libraries to enrich the way people experience arts and culture, while the four councils can share their resources and learning in this area.

The project Merton is participating in was selected by the Arts Council England for its innovative approach to library services commissioning arts activities.

Merton cabinet member for community and culture, Councillor Martin Whelton, said: “This funding will enable us to offer an even wider and more exciting range of activities and allow our library users to profit from even more of the benefits and services available. Our libraries offer an extensive programme of events and form a very important part of the community.

“We are very proud that currently, when financial restraints mean that many libraries are being closed or suffering from reduced hours, we are not only keeping ours open – but also striving to improve our services further so all our residents can enjoy everything our libraries offer.’

Arts Council England chief executive Alan Davey said: “The successful projects all show a really forward-looking approach. They’re imaginative, ambitious and will be immensely helpful in demonstrating to the wider sector the important role the public library can play in our 21st century cultural life.”

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Notes to Editors:
For more information on Merton libraries, please visit: http://www.merton.gov.uk/libraries
Merton libraries recently celebrated World Book Day on 1 March with a programme of activities in each library, including a modern poetry event from local bards the Dodo Modern Poets, and children’s activities.
The Arts Council England champions, develops and invests in artistic and cultural experiences and supports a range of activities across the arts, museums and libraries. Between 2011 and 2015, the organisation will invest £1.4 billion of public money from government and an estimated £0.85 billion from the National Lottery to help create these experiences for as many people as possible across the country. For more information, please visit: http://www.artscouncil.org.uk