Public libraries across the UK and Ireland are being given the opportunity to help future-proof their services thanks to a £200,000 funding boost.

The Carnegie Library Lab from the Carnegie UK Trust will create partnerships with up to 15 public libraries to support innovative practice and show that book lending is only service that libraries can deliver. The initiative will also pilot a new programme of online learning material.

This resource will be developed using material from the ­International Network of ­Emerging Library Innovators initiative run by the billionaire Microsoft founder Bill Gates' foundation as part of a global libraries programme.

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Liz McGettigan, former head of libraries and information services at City of Edinburgh Council, said: "The public, whether or not they use public libraries, value them greatly.

"Many people understand and appreciate the services public libraries deliver in terms of book-lending, literacy and local and family history. Yet libraries are continually reinventing their offer, delivering new services and engaging with their users in innovative ways.

"It's essential that this process of innovation and improvement continues and develop."