Laser Foundation Awards presented in 2003
Awards Made: Speculative Bids Scheme 2003
Investigation into Public Library Expenditure
Lead Institution: Libri
This award from the Laser Foundation funded the production of a report by the charitable trust Libri into public library expenditure, using Hampshire County Library as a test site. Libri's objective was an improvement in the use of the library service throughout the country, increasing the number of visitors to libraries by 50% in the next 10 years. The report "Who's in Charge?", written by consultant Tim Coates, sparked heated debate both inside and outside libraries.
The report 'Who's in Charge' is available from the Libri website.
Location Register project funding for 2003/04
Lead Institution: University of Reading
This award provided project funding for one year to the Location Register project, based at the University of Reading. Public libraries have contributed extensively to the content of the 'Location Register of Twentieth Century English Letters and Manuscripts', submitting information to the original 1988 print version and supplementary material to a new web-mounted version launched in 2003. It is established as the primary source of information about the whereabouts of literary manuscripts in libraries, museums and record offices throughout the UK and Ireland. The online Location Register enables public libraries to see their collections connected to the distributed national collection.
The Location Register is available from the University of Reading website.
A final report (October 2004), a list of public libraries and a press release about the project are available to download and view in PDF format.
Awards Made: Other grants in 2003
Accessing our archival and manuscript heritage: providing access for lifelong learners to archives, manuscripts and manuscript studies through the University of London Library
Lead Institution: Senate House Library, University of London
This award, comprising residual funds of £67,000 from the former Electronic Access to Resources in Libraries (EARL) Consortium for Public Library Networking plus a grant of £8,000 from the LASER Foundation, will fund the creation and development of a specially dedicated web interface for lifelong learners interested in archives, manuscripts and manuscript studies. This will form part of the Manuscript Studies Portal under development at the University of London Library (ULL).
A progress report from June 2005 is available to view in PDF format.
The Futures Group
The Futures Group are a group of middle managers of public libraries who came together under the auspices of the Laser Foundation to debate the future direction of public libraries. The Group has its own web pages, which support its major publication Libraries, 'A Vision: The Public Library Service in 2015 and welcomes comments'.