Funding success - Art of Libraries 3 year programme in Gloucestershire

Create Gloucestershire announced today that it has secured funding of just under £214,000 to launch a new and ambitious programme which will be run in Gloucestershire Libraries called the Art of Libraries.

Create Gloucestershire has worked collaboratively with artists, cultural venues, teachers, libraries and funders across Gloucestershire to develop this innovative programme to bring new ideas and energy to the library network. It is being funded by Esmee Fairbairn, Arts Council England, Ernest Cook Trust and other local community funds.

Over three years, in up to 6 early adopter libraries, the projects will focus on work with babies, children and young people up to 25 years as well as their parents/carers.  Stories and books will provide a springboard into all kinds of creative activity such as dance, beatbox, photography, music and film.

The overall aim of Art of Libraries is to develop the creative skills of children and young people and develop new working relationships between libraries, arts venues, galleries and museums to sustain the offer when the pilot funding comes to an end. Creative skills have been shown to improve children’s educational achievement, health and well being and in later life their employability.

Puppetry, storytelling, drawing and circus workshops for children and young people are all taking place in Gloucestershire Libraries as part of the pilot project, funded by Gloucestershire Community Chest fund. 

Pippa Jones, Director of Create Gloucestershire said: "This project has been designed in collaboration with Create Glos’s network of artists, cultural venues, galleries, museums and libraries.  Everyone involved is passionate about the way arts and culture can improve outcomes for children and young people whether that’s educational attainment, well being or in later life, employability.  Art of Libraries will provide a fantastic new resource for children, parents, teachers and youth and community workers who want to foster creativity and develop talent in their children and young people."

Caroline Mason, CEO at Esmee Fairbairn Foundation said: “We are delighted to support this new approach, which will engage local people with the arts through a trusted place – their library.”

Phil Gibby, Area Director, South West, Arts Council England, said: “We believe that every child and young person has the opportunity to experience the richness of the arts, museums and libraries so we’re pleased to be supporting this project that will inspire young people in the joy of reading. Involvement with arts and culture is crucial to imagination, self-expression and creativity in young people and our libraries are cultural hubs at the heart of communities up and down the country so are a great space for offering these activities.”

Cllr Andrew Gravells, Gloucestershire County Council Cabinet member for Libraries said, “We are delighted to be part of this exciting and innovative arts programme and look forward to seeing Art of Libraries activities happening in the selected libraries. I hope artists will come forward to work with us as we see our libraries develop into vibrant artistic spaces. ”



1. Create Gloucestershire (CG)

Create Gloucestershire (CG) is a not for profit organisation that brings together a community of 140 plus artists, craftspeople, producers, , festivals,  arts venues, galleries and museums. By working together members have been able to do more than they could on their own. Our vision for Gloucestershire is articulated in an eight Pledge Manifesto that you can read about on our website.

2. Gloucestershire Libraries and Information

Gloucestershire Libraries have a long standing reputation for delivering quality literature and reading development events and activities, including collaboration with festivals, external programmes such as the Reading Passport and in-house activities for all ages.  The programme of events and activities continue throughout the year and especially in school holidays.  

3. Esmee Fairbairn Foundation

Esmée Fairbairn Foundation aims to improve the quality of life for people and communities throughout the UK both now and in the future. We do this by funding the charitable work of organisations with the ideas and ability to achieve positive change.

The Foundation is one of the largest independent grant-makers in the UK.  We make grants of £30 - £35 million annually towards a wide range of work within the arts, children and young people, the environment, social change and food. We also commit up to £35 million in social investments in organisations that aim to deliver both a financial return and a social benefit.

4. Arts Council England

The Grants for the Arts Libraries fund invests National Lottery money in projects delivered by public libraries or library authorities working in partnership with artists and cultural organisations across all art forms.

The fund aims to inspire innovative partnerships between libraries and art organisations, and encourage library users and those living locally to take part in artistic and cultural activities.

5. Ernest Cook Trust

The Ernest Cook Trust is one of the UK’s leading outdoor learning charities. Rooted in the conservation and management of the countryside, the Trust actively encourages children and young people to learn from the land through hands-on outdoor learning opportunities on its estates and by offering grants. The Ernest Cook Trust also gives grants to registered charities, schools and not-for-profit organisations wishing to encourage young people’s interest in the arts.

For more information on Art of Libraries, contact Louise Bardgett at Create Gloucestershire on