Researcher awarded funding for £100,000 project on libraries

  • Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Dr Shelley Trower, Reader in the Department of English and Creative Writing, has been awarded £80,000 of follow-on funding by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) after the success of the Memories of Fiction project, which concluded last year.

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The project, Living Libraries, will explore and demonstrate how libraries are changing in diverse and innovative ways across England, partly in order to survive in the face of cuts and closures. Using material gathered by a previous project, Memories of Fiction: An Oral History of Readers, Living Libraries will build on the unforeseen impact that the research had on library users, library professionals and policymakers.

The project will conduct oral history interviews and public talks at five libraries, including Newcastle, Chester, Falmouth, Peterborough and Colliers Wood in London, engaging with both library workers and library users. The project will gather information on how libraries are used, why they are important and how libraries would be best funded and developed in future. The project will make these interviews publicly accessible on the British Library website, as well as staging further talks and performances in libraries, in line with the approach taken in Memories of Fiction. It will also result in an audio documentary.

Dr Trower, Principal Investigator, says ‘by conducting oral history interviews, we can track the changing ways in which libraries are used and what their impact is on communities, which we hope will inform policy surrounding libraries’.

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