Today we feature a guest blog from Rachel Heydecker, Policy & Development Officer with Carnegie UK Trust, on the opening of Engaging Libraries: Phase 2.


Public libraries are an ideal place to bring people into contact with new ideas. They are ‘street-corner universities’ where people can discover and discuss ideas and concepts, as well as access verifiable information. When people are exposed to different or new ideas, it can challenge their unquestioned beliefs or ways of thinking and broaden their perspectives. This can help to cultivate curiosity, critical thinking, open-mindedness and empathy.

The Carnegie UK Trust believe that there is huge value in bringing together people, public libraries and researchers, and we are delighted to be working with Wellcome and the Wolfson Foundation to deliver a new round of the Engaging Libraries programme, to encourage people to come into contact and engage with new ideas through their local public library.

What Does Phase 2 Offer?

Engaging Libraries InforgraphicEngaging Libraries Phase 2 is an 18-month programme that provides public libraries across the UK the opportunity to develop and deliver public engagement projects on research in health, society and culture in collaboration with others.

Engaging Libraries Phase 2 offers:

  • Funding for libraries to run a public engagement project: up to £25,000 for applications from a single service and up to £50,000 for joint applications;
  • Support with identifying and partnering with a research institution;
  • A Development Programme with access to experts through a series of workshops; and
  • Support with evaluation and measuring impact.


The programme requires public libraries to work with researchers to provide people with the opportunity to access, use and challenge – or be challenged by – research on health, society and culture in trusted spaces. The unique nature of public libraries is highly valued by researchers, many of whom are committed to finding better ways of connecting with communities and opening up their research. Public libraries can also work with other partners, such as artists, local schools, businesses or musicians, to bring public engagement activities to life and attract a broad audience.

Topic Areas

The programme covers a wide range of topic areas - health, society and culture - reflecting the breadth of areas in which public libraries have both an interest and an impact, and a wider set of issues that relate to the human experience. Libraries are free to choose which topic they would prefer to focus on, based on what has a resonance for their service and community. We are also open to public library services bringing their own definitions and ideas of what topics come under health or society and culture.

Applications are open now until Wednesday 25th September. You can find out more in our Application Pack and FAQs, and we actively encourage you to get in touch to talk to us about ideas, applications and to ask any questions! You can email the team at or call us 01383 721 445.