Wirral Libraries service is one of more than 60 galleries, museums, libraries and cultural venues is to receive funding from the Government’s Cultural Investment Fund (CIF).
The service has been awarded a grant of £125,251 by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sports, delivered by Arts Council England, to create a “Connect and Inspire” Hub at Birkenhead Central Library.
A programme of works will reconfigure and refit the current IT suite based at the library into a modern flexible digital hub, investing in internal upgrading and digital infrastructure to substantially improve the service’s offer, whilst providing a multi-purpose community space to learn, connect and work.
The suite will be re-decorated and new furniture installed. Additionally, there will be new technology, including the upgrade to wi-fi coverage, wi-fi printing, charging points, loanable tablets and improved self-service functionality to improve user experience.
In total, the Cultural Investment Fund will see £48 million distributed to 63 organisations. It is allocated through three streams: £24 million through the Cultural Development Fund, £18.8 million through the Museums Estate and Development Fund and £5 million through the Libraries Improvement Fund.
Wirral’s funding is from the Libraries Improvement Fund which aims to transform library services in England by helping them upgrade their buildings and digital infrastructure so they can respond to the changing ways people use them.
Cllr Helen Cameron, Chair of the Tourism, Communities, Culture and Leisure Committee for Wirral Council said, “This is a very welcome investment in our library service that will help create a new, multi-purpose hub within Birkenhead Library, equipped with state of the art technology for people to access computer equipment, space to work or study or to learn new skills. It also meets one of our key Strategic Priorities in our new, emerging Library Service Strategy to support digital skills learning and to deliver resources to ensure all residents have access to quality information and digital services.”
Arts Minister, Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay, said, “Culture is the bedrock of society. It brings people together, entertains and informs us, and helps us to understand our common past and shared future. Today we are announcing a raft of new funding for treasured cultural institutions up and down the country.
“This will help them to continue their great work, advance our work to level up access to arts and culture so they can be enjoyed by people no matter where they live, and protect these cherished institutions for future generations to enjoy.”
Darren Henley, Chief Executive Officer, Arts Council England, added, “Our artists, arts organisations, museums and libraries are experts in making villages, towns and cities better places to live, work, visit or play. This investment means they’ll be able to help more people across England to lead happier, more creative lives.”