Many congratulations to Nottingham City Council, who have won Best Local Authority Arts Initiative for Nottingham Performing Arts Library Service (NPALS).

What Next? and the National Campaign for the Arts have come together to create the Hearts for the Arts Awards, a new initiative to reward and thank Councils, Councillors and Council officers who are overcoming financial challenges to ensure the arts stay at the centre of community life.

The winner of Best Local Authority Arts Initiative, announced at noon on Sunday 12 February, is Nottingham City Council for Nottingham Performing Arts Library Service (NPALS).

Nottingham and Leicester City Libraries were both providing well-used music and drama sets services, loaning material to local amateur groups who wouldn’t be able to afford the rates from commercial publishers. However, this was at a cost that neither local authority could continue to support. The solution was the first purpose-built music and drama library IT system, allowing users to browse the catalogue online, to view the availability of material in real time, and to make reservations of sets up to a year in advance. It is the first regional hub performing arts library, and projects break-even within two years, subsequently generating sufficient surplus to cover ongoing capital costs and paying back its capital investment over five years.

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