A library user at a computer cubicle


Round 2

Round 2 offered a further £500,000 for public libraries in England to improve their online presence and discoverability.

Submissions are now closed


Our second-round grants programme closed at the beginning of November 2023. We had up to £500,000 available and applicants could apply for projects under the following headings:

  • Library apps  
  • Online registration  
  • Virtual tours 
  • Upgrades or improvements to Library Management Systems (LMS) 

Grants were available for between £10,000 and £30,000, with activity required to take place between November 2023 and March 2024. We recognised the delivery time was short and had hoped to attract projects that were already somewhat scoped out.

We received 25 applications and following a robust decision-making process awarded funding to 21 projects.

Awards breakdown

Of the 21 awards, six were for library apps, eleven virtual tours and four LMS upgrades.

Geographically, the split was:

  • Eight awards in the North
  • Two awards in the Midlands
  • Five awards in London
  • Three awards in the South East
  • Three awards in the South West

Included in the London awards was a consortium application on behalf of London Libraries.

Below you can explore the projects in detail as described by each applicant.

Awarded projects

Viewing 1-5 of 21

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  • We are upgrading our current LMS to a modern, mobile, cloud hosted system. Our current system does not fulfil our needs or secure our future. We have selected a new provider to work with that will enable us to meet the challenges of a modern library service and deliver a higher level of service to our communities.

    An upgrade would provide a fully mobile solution that staff can use at events and flexibly in the workplace to more easily able to assist our customers. We need improved catalogue access that ties seamlessly with our online resources and self-service provision.

  • Our aim is to create a digital inclusive welcome to the newly-refurbished Bolton Central Library. The project will include a virtual 3D tour of the space and will include information in British Sign Language and Makaton and also the option to listen to an audio described tour. The tour will feature online access to the library catalogue, current what's on information and weblinks to existing pages featuring other aspects of our library's services - i.e. e-books and e-audiobooks, digital help, home library services, schools library service, local history, business support and children's reading challenges.

  • Visiting a library can be an unknown and daunting prospect for some, including those for whom the library environment is not part of their social cultural world or for autistic or other neurodivergent people.

    Our project aims to overcome this barrier by creating virtual tours of our libraries along with short films showing how to join the library, use our catalogue, access online resources and how to use our self-service kiosks to take out and return books. These films will be hosted online, providing user-friendly, visual and auditory experiences, allowing users to explore the library's facilities, resources, and services remotely.

  • Expanding on the change in our printing solution to provide better access to remote printing and printing from personal devices. The fund would allow us to purchase an upgrade that would bring full integration and better access to all users of the library. It would increase our visibility allowing for printing from home, in the library or off your own device (smart phones included) easily via Cloud infrastructure. Increasing access and revenue from printing. This will allow the library to target the new phenomenon of working from home customers by offering better access to printing.

  • To improve discoverability of London's public libraries and to increase the number of Londoners who use libraries (in person and online), London Libraries want to build a new reading app inspired by the couch to 5k app, which will encourage lapsed readers to get back into the habit. Users will be able to set and track goals for time spent reading over a week, with positive reinforcement rewards for encouraging daily reading. The app will direct people to their local library resources and local library services will be able to set reading challenges for their own library users.


  1. Applications open

  2. Applications close

  3. Funding decisions confirmed

  4. First payments released

  5. Project delivery period ends

  6. Project monitoring due