Among recent acquisitions funded by the FNL are items from the archive of the Batten family of Yeovil, which were bought by South West Heritage Trust (c) South West Heritage Trust

Funding news

Geraldine Kendall Adams, Issue 119/03, 01.03.2019
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Acquisition grants are available from the Friends of the National Libraries (FNL) for a wide range of written and printed material, including rare books, manuscripts, records and archives, literary manuscripts and fine bindings. Don’t be put off by the name – the organisation funds not just libraries, archives and record offices, but any UK museum, gallery or institution to which the public has reasonable access.

There’s no lower or upper limit on funding, although grants above £20,000 are rare. The two main criteria for grants are the proposed acquisition’s historical, literary and other qualities, and its significance to the applicant’s collection.

The FNL distributed almost £270,000 worth of grants in 2018, with recent acquisitions including a letter from Charles Dickens, which was acquired by the Foundling Museum in London.

Applications can be sent at any time and are considered at trustees’ meetings, the next of which will be held in June. Urgent requests can be made if an auction deadline is looming.  

Meanwhile, at last month’s launch of the Cultural Cities report, which detailed how cultural investment can drive growth in the UK’s cities, it was revealed that the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport and Arts Council England would offer £110,000 each to cities in England that are early adopters of “cultural compacts” – collectives of key local stakeholders from a broad range of sectors tasked with embedding culture in civic life. Full details will be announced in due course.