A library user at a computer cubicle


Round 1

LibraryOn's first grants round gave £1.09m to public libraries in England.

Submissions are now closed


We received 68 applications in total, representing just under 70% of all library services in England. Of the initial 68, 43 were invited to submit a full application. 27 of those applicants received funding.

Our decision-making process had two stages. The first presented our 68 Expressions of Interest to a panel which included an Arts Council England representative and the Digital Lead for Libraries Connected. Applications included upgrading existing websites or creating new ones, digital marketing activities and the purchase of new software. The total value of these applications came to just under £1.09m.

In the second decision-making phase, we assembled a panel of sector experts, including voices from CILIP, the Good Things Foundation and former heads of library services. All full applications were considered and discussed in detail to ensure a good geographical spread and range of activities.

Grants recipients

The panel awarded funding to 27 projects with a total value of £1,080,846:

  • In the North, eleven projects were funded, including a new website for Sunderland Libraries to revitalise customer experience; a digital advertising campaign in Sefton; an animation and VR project working with young people in North Lincolnshire; a new library app in Kirklees and upgraded events booking for Gateshead.

  • The Midlands received funding for two applications, including a website refresh, virtual floor plan, photography and library app for Stoke-on-Trent; and a library app for Leicester Libraries.

  • London had five successful applications. They included a collaboration between the Royal National Institute for Blind People (RNIB) and Camden Libraries; an online discoverable catalogue in Lambeth; and an interactive website for five projects for Newham.

  • The South East received funding for five. They included creation of online assets such as photography, film and animation for West Sussex; virtual tours and photography in Surrey; and Suffolk reimagining its website’s user experience.

  • In the South West, four projects were supported, including online space booking for Libraries Unlimited; a new website in Gloucestershire; and an online history and archive project for Southampton.

Awards were also given to three consortiums, accounting for 20 services around the country. Activities include:

  • Ask for a Book - a website providing personalised book recommendations from librarians.

  • A film and photography project - reflecting findings from user research, where people said they would be more likely to visit a library if they could see what the spaces and events looked like.

  • Website upgrades which will help local libraries link up with LibraryOn.

Awarded projects

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  • Working with local partners to create a digital marketing campaign and materials to reach and connect with targeted groups within our community whose footfall both digitally and physically is currently low. The digital assets created will be integrated in an interactive digital installation at Jubilee library.

  • This project will bridge the digital divide empowering blind and partially sighted people who might struggle to use their own device or lack connectivity at home to get out into their local community, by making digital books accessible via Envoy readers using public computers and offering orientation sessions.

  • Substantial improvements to our website at a time when our service is undergoing a significant and exciting transformation.

    The creation of an enjoyable, feature rich, interactive journey to support the discoverability of our library to new and diverse audiences to increase footfall.

  • To replace Eventbrite as our events platform with a booking system created and customised by GOSS, our website provider. This will allow greater integration, keeping users on our site and allowing us to market events more easily to Gateshead residents.

  • The project will enhance an ongoing library website project and organic listings by incorporating captivating photography and videography of life at GLL's libraries. A content production house will be commissioned to showcase the unique personality of libraries, the range of services and the diversity of staff and local communities.


  1. Fund launched and opened for Expressions of Interest

  2. Deadline for full applications closed

  3. Project delivery period began

  4. Project delivery period ends