Carnegie, Wellcome and Wolfson to Launch Phase Two of Engaging Libraries Programme

March 27, 2019

Share this story

  • Announcement of new funding comes as report published highlighting impact of the programme’s phase 1

The Carnegie UK Trust, Wellcome and the Wolfson Foundation have today announced that a new round of the pioneering Engaging Libraries funding programme for UK public libraries will open for applications later this year.

This will be the second phase for Engaging Libraries, which began as a pilot programme in 2017-18. The Wolfson Foundation is joining Wellcome and Carnegie in backing the initiative and the programme will be expanded to support public libraries across the UK to deliver public engagement projects with research in health, culture and society, and to foster partnerships between public libraries and researchers.

The announcement comes as the Carnegie UK Trust today (Wednesday 27 March) publishes a new report: Engaging Libraries: Learning from Phase 1, outlining learning and reflections from the programme’s successful first phase.

Engaging Libraries phase 1 supported 14 projects across 16 public library services in England, Scotland and Wales to work in collaboration with others to deliver public engagement activities which sparked curiosity and conversation about health and wellbeing in communities. Projects covered a range of topics from death, body image and brain development to the ageing process and childhood obesity.

The new report, Engaging Libraries: Learning from Phase 1 shares reflections from the programme, demonstrates learning through case studies and aims to provide inspiration for projects and partnerships for others to explore.

The key findings from phase 1 are as follows:

  • Libraries’ USP as a safe, trusted space make them well suited to acting as a space for engaging the public in discussion, debate and activity on challenging health and wellbeing issues such as death, body image and mental health.
  • Public libraries were able to explore how their health offer could be enhanced through public engagement activities, which included opening up health research and encouraging library users to consider their own and others health.
  • Funding opportunities give public libraries the space and permission to forge new partnerships as well as build on existing links, providing benefits for the library, the community and partners.

Douglas White, Joint Interim CEO and Head of Advocacy, Carnegie UK Trust, said: “Engaging Libraries provides clear, compelling evidence that public libraries are a positive, trusted places where communities can learn, discuss and engage on a range of often challenging health and wellbeing issues. We are seeking to build on the ambition, excellence and potential of public libraries through a second phase of Engaging Libraries, and are very excited to be working again with the Wellcome Trust and a new partner, the Wolfson Foundation.”

Simon Chaplin, Director of Culture and Society, Wellcome, said: “As trusted spaces, libraries provide an ideal environment to spark conversations with the public around health and wellbeing. We’re delighted to publish this report for the first phase of Engaging Libraries, which explored health research in new and challenging ways. With the additional support of the Wolfson Foundation, the expanded initiative will take on an even more exciting dimension.”

Lin Richardson, Deputy Chief Executive & Head of Grants, Wolfson Foundation, said: “The first phase of Engaging Libraries produced a wide range of positive outcomes for libraries, their partners and the individuals who engaged in the activities. We recognise the benefit of supporting public libraries to deliver innovative projects on important topics and are delighted therefore to be joining this partnership with the Carnegie UK Trust and the Wellcome Trust for the second phase of this expanded programme.”

Isobel Hunter, Chief Executive, Libraries Connected, said: “We are delighted by the success of Engaging Libraries in showcasing the innovative ways in which libraries help the public explore and engage with health and wellbeing topics. We are already seeing some of the ideas from the programme being adopted by other library services around the country. We welcome the second phase of this programme in public libraries and look forward to the opportunity to further promote libraries as a trusted space to explore a wide range of health related issues.”

Engaging Libraries phase 2 will be launched later in 2019 and full details will be available on the Carnegie UK Trust website

About the Carnegie UK Trust

The Carnegie UK Trust works to improve the lives and wellbeing of people throughout the UK and Ireland by changing minds through influencing policy and by changing lives through innovative practice and partnership work. The Trust was established by Scots-American philanthropist Andrew Carnegie in 1913.

About Wellcome

Wellcome exists to improve health by helping great ideas to thrive. We support researchers, we take on big health challenges, we campaign for better science, and we help everyone get involved with science and health research. We are a politically and financially independent foundation.

About the Wolfson Foundation

The Wolfson Foundation ( is an independent charity that supports and promotes excellence in the fields of science, health, education and the arts and humanities.

Since it was established in 1955, over £900 million (£1.9 billion in real terms) has been awarded to more than 11,000 projects throughout the UK, all on the basis of expert review.

Twitter: @wolfsonfdn