In advance of its opening in September 2013, the Library of Birmingham and Creative England have joined forces to invest in digital solutions to help deliver what will be the UK’s first truly “21st century library”.
From today Creative Sector SMEs are invited to apply for support through the Regional Growth Fund*. Those wishing to apply need to submit their proposals for products and services which are focused on: developing audiences, opening up digital access to the Library’s services and collections, bridging the gap between digital channels and the physical building and exploring new business models.
The aim is to produce an exciting range of new multichannel services which are as much about the libraries online presence 24/7 as they are about a landmark cultural building.
For those SMEs which are successful, there will be financial support up to £100k, and a great opportunity to showcase their digital wares in what is currently the largest cultural build in Europe.
JIM FARMERY, Creative England’s Director of Business Development said: “We’re very excited about this landmark project for a number of reasons. It’s central to our remit to support and develop creative sector SMEs and help broker new business connections – with both the public and private sector – which will ultimately create jobs and growth.”.
BRIAN GAMBLES, Project Director for the Library of Birmingham, said ‘Working collaboratively with partners is integral to the ethos of the Library of Birmingham. Together with Creative England and regional creative digital companies, the Library will be able to push the boundaries of what a library can be in the 21st century, enabling citizens to engage with the libraries collections, services and each other in new and exciting ways. Ultimately this is about empowering people, transforming lives and developing a sustainable model for service delivery.’
With a clear focus on delivering first-class customer experience, projects may include:
• Delivery of services and collections through multiple channels including mobile
• Gaming on mobile or in the library
• Digital experiences in the new Library of Birmingham
• Enabling and facilitating user contribution
• Data visualisation
• New business models including commercialisation of services/assets
The funding package includes a matched 50% investment from Creative England with flexible profit sharing options with the Library and Creative England. Individual projects to a total value of approximately £100k will be considered. The SME match element of the investment can be achieved in a number of ways including direct cash investment, in-kind work, sponsorship or complimentary external funding options.
The Library of Birmingham will coordinate funding options to ensure that the most innovative SMEs are able to benefit from this exciting opportunity.
Expressions of interest (max 2 page) are invited by 20th November 2012 and should identify the area of the call which is of interest and relevant company expertise. To make a submission, please email Rebecca Cadwallader at the Library of Birmingham for further details firstname.lastname@example.org
NB: Projects will be no more than 9 months in duration, and must be completed by end of August 2013.
*The Regional Growth Fund (RGF) is a £2.4bn fund operating across England from 2011 to 2015. It supports projects and programmes that lever private sector investment to create economic growth and sustainable employment. Please see www.bis.gov.uk/rgf for more information.
Paul Smith, Head of Communications, Creative England, 07554 423265, email@example.com
Truda Spruyt or Sarah Watson at Four Colman Getty, 020 3023 9096 firstname.lastname@example.org
About Creative England
Creative England is a national agency that invests in and supports creative ideas, talent and businesses in film, TV, games and digital media. We aim to grow the brightest, the best, and those with the most promise so that individuals and businesses can achieve their full creative and commercial potential. We help identify future opportunities to grow the economy and generate jobs.
With offices in Salford, Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds, Nottingham and Elstree, we are a national agency with strong local and regional links.
About The Library of Birmingham
The Library of Birmingham will be a major new cultural destination, rewriting the book for 21st century public libraries. It opens in 2013.
The Library of Birmingham will provide a showcase for the city’s internationally important collections of archives, photography and rare books. New facilities including state-of-the-art gallery space will open up public access to the collections for the first time. It will also be home to a BFI Mediatheque, providing free access to the National Film Archive. Other facilities will include a new flexible studio theatre, an outdoor amphitheatre and other informal performance spaces, a recording studio, and dedicated spaces for children and teenagers. By harnessing new technology, everyone from Birmingham to Beijing, Bangalore and beyond will be able to access the Library of Birmingham’s world-class resources. More than three million visitors are expected each year, and millions more online.
Described by its architect Francine Houben as a ‘people’s palace’, the Library of Birmingham will be highly accessible and family-friendly. It will deliver excellent services through collaboration between the library, The Birmingham Repertory Theatre, partners and communities. It will provide a dynamic mix of events, activities and performance together with outstanding resources, exhibitions and access to expert help for learning, information and culture. As a centre of excellence for literacy, research, study, skills development, entrepreneurship, creative expression, health information and much more, the Library of Birmingham will change people’s lives.