Arts Council England have announced that Suffolk Libraries will have the status of a National Portfolio Organisation for 2018-2022 and will receive £704,000 over this period.
This funding will be dedicated to further improving the library service through helping young people to develop their own arts and culture activities in libraries.
Being a National Portfolio Organisation means that the Arts Council considers us to be doing work of national significance.
We will become one of 11 organisations in Suffolk which will have this status and dedicated Arts Council funding for the next four years. We are also one of only six library services across the country to get this status.
The funding will help us to work with young people who will lead and shape new arts activities and experiences in libraries. We aim to develop their confidence and skills as writers, musicians, storytellers or artists and there will be a focus on using digital media. This will also help develop a skilled and talented workforce within the county.
There will be a focus on using the library network to reach out to rurally isolated young people. We will also be working with national arts organisation METAL - who also have NPO status – on the project.
Alison Wheeler, Suffolk Libraries chief executive, welcomed the announcement: "We are thrilled with this news which reflects the effort which Suffolk Libraries has spent over the last few years, building a reputation for reaching out to new audiences and delivering a diverse range of events and other activities not normally associated with libraries, such as our digital screening programme which was also funded by Arts Council England, plus live music events, code clubs and events to promote online library services."
Tony Brown, chair of Suffolk Libraries, added: "I’m delighted by this news. The project will have many benefits and will help us to engage with more young people in the county. The aim is for it to be something inspiring and exciting for everyone involved and it’s great news for our library service."