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National funding bid boost for Central Library

A photo of project manager David Harrington in Middlesbrough Central Library

Boro bookworms are in for a treat thanks to a successful funding bid.

The historic Central Library has landed a major cash injection thanks to the Libraries Investment Fund (LIF).

The town’s Library Service was one of just 25 in England and the only authority in the north east to receive a slice of the £5 million fund.

The £270,000 windfall – including £30,000 in match funding – will provide technology upgrades to help the library adapt to the changing way people access its services.

Library Service Project Manager David Harrington, who led on Middlesbrough’s bid to the Arts Council-administered fund, said: “This was a highly competitive process.

“We put together an exciting bid to completely transform our digital offer which has lacked significant investment for some years.

“This fantastic grant will not only enable us to combat digital exclusion, but it will also develop a 21st century service for the people of Middlesbrough by improving access to digital services in a modern setting whilst extending the range of digital learning opportunities to everyone.”

The funding will see new PC provision and wireless printing facilities, as well as new facilities enabling visitors to bring their own devices.

Laptops and tablets will be made available for loan, with self-serve provision set to be enhanced.

The LIF grant will also support a new business service at the Central Library enabling digital access for customers to information and databases.

Councillor Stephen Hill, Middlesbrough Council’s Executive member for Culture & Communities, said: “The Central Library is one of Middlesbrough’s true icons alongside the Transporter and the Town Hall.

“It’s not just steeped in history – it’s a living resource that’s moving with the times to ensure the joy of reading and access to knowledge and learning remain fully accessible to as many people as possible.

“This important grant from the Libraries Investment Fund will ensure it continues to deliver the service that local people expect and cherish for many years to come.”

For more information on the Libraries Investment Fund, visit the Arts Council website.