Ambition & Opportunity

In 2015 the Scottish Library and Information Council (SLIC) led the development of Scotland’s first ever national strategy for public libraries. Ambition & Opportunity: A Strategy for Public Libraries in Scotland 2015 - 2020 sets out the challenges and opportunities libraries face as well as aims and objectives for the future.

Working in partnership with the Carnegie UK Trust, COSLA and the Scottish Government, the strategy has been developed to re-invigorate the role and perception of libraries. It describes how libraries can work towards a sustainable future by delivering 21st century services and was created through a combination of independent research, presentations, library visits and surveys.

The Role of Scotland's Public Libraries

Scotland's public libraries have adapted and evolved for over 150 years to connect individuals and communities to information, knowledge and culture. They provide a highly valued universal service which at its heart is about opening up a world of opportunity to everyone.


Scotland's Public Libraries:

  • Encourage reading for pleasure & recreation – enabling discovery, promoting literacy & lifelong learning
  • Support individuals in relation to their economic wellbeing, health, cultural opportunities a& social wellbeing
  • Promote the use and understanding of digital for all
  • Strengthens the identity of the community in which it is based & is valued by the community
  • Collects, curates & makes available information, knowledge, ideas and works of imagination


2015 - 2020: Challenges & Opportunities

As with other public services in Scotland, this is a time of significant transition and change. The Strategy is based on the expectation that there will be increasing pressure on local authorities to reduce their spending levels, and to prioritise the services they fund.

Libraries represent incredible good value for money in terms of the scale of their impact on local communities. In this climate public libraries have an opportunity to re-present themselves to the public and to policy makers as centres of learning, innovation and creativity.

The future success of libraries will be determined by how successfully they respond to changing needs and aspirations of communities, and the constantly evolving digital world.

If you would like a hard copy of Scotland's Strategy for Public Libraries please get in touch. You can also learn more about the individual aims and current progress of Ambition & Opportunity by reading our National Strategy Advisory Group page.