SLIC CEO Pamela Tulloch explains how SLIC has supported our members over the years and takes a look at what the future might hold.
Established in 1991, the Scottish Library and Information Council (SLIC) celebrated its 25th Anniversary in 2016. A constant feature in the library landscape, at a time when other organisations have come and gone, SLIC has established itself as the membership organisation of choice for library services in Scotland.
Members include libraries from the public library, HE and FE sectors in addition to a number of special interest libraries. Over time, members have developed a network of support sharing and learning from each other. Throughout those years, libraries have learned to innovate and move with the times through support from SLIC. In 1991, no service had a web presence or provided online services, now all libraries have a digital presence and a 24/7 digital offer - catering for users in the 21st Century. SLIC has been pivotal in supporting this transition through advocacy, staff development and where possible additional funding.
In fact, many users now only use the digital services in libraries, missing the opportunity to see how the physical library space has modernised to provide that trusted safe space for study, reflection or an opportunity for new and exciting experiences.
The user experience is free of charge in member institutions and the similarity does not end there. An offer which can improve life opportunities whether you are a babe in arms receiving your first library card for your local library, an undergraduate striving for that degree, a computer programmer who has created that latest must play game for young people or a scientist researching that topic which might be Scotland’s latest breakthrough. There’s so much to discover in Scotland’s libraries.
Yet, we are on a journey, disruption in the workplace is a feature of our time. Libraries like every other service industry are seeing traditional processes being challenged. However, it could be argued that libraries are better placed than most to adapt and change with these opportunities.
Unlike other service industries, libraries have a strong track record of changing with the times, after all was the Library of Alexandria not one of the great wonders of the ancient world? Libraries from then until now can be cited as being at the heart of a civilised and progressive society regardless of time or advances with industry and technology.
SLIC’s member organisations are at the leading edge of transforming services. Through support from SLIC, member library services can ensure they remain not only relevant to the world of today but also look forward to where service development needs to be at to ensure library services continue to attract the users of tomorrow.
SLIC is in the enviable position of understanding the library landscape across Scotland and recognises that within Scotland through the library offer, there is everything and more on offer which people in Scotland need to function in a healthy and vibrant society.