The Public Library Improvement Fund (PLIF) supports creative and innovative library projects throughout Scotland. Awarded every year, the Scottish Library and Information Council administers the Fund on behalf of the Scottish Government.

Since its inception in 2006 PLIF has played a significant part in transforming Scotland’s public library landscape. Millions of pounds have been invested in a wide range of pioneering projects which in turn has had an enormous impact on both individuals and communities alike.    

PLIF also has a key role to play in helping library services achieve the vision set out by Scotland’s strategy for public libraries, Ambition & Opportunity.

The PLIF Process

Each year every public library in Scotland can apply for funding through PLIF. Projects cover a wide range of different areas such as the creation of homework clubs, the introduction of maker spaces or digital training.

Currently, every project has to have a direct link to one or more of the six strategic aims of the Scottish public library strategy. For instance, successful PLIF Awards in 2016 focused on areas such as economic wellbeing, digital inclusion and reading, literacy and learning. By showing clear links with the strategic aims, projects are also able to contribute to the overarching national outcomes of the strategy.

SLIC accepts a maximum of two PLIF bids per library service. However, services can submit an unlimited amount of collaborative bids in partnership with other libraries or organisations. Awards are then decided on a case-by-case basis. For more information please read our current PLIF Guidelines.

PLIF Evaluation

In 2015 SLIC commissioned a team from the Department of Information Management at Robert Gordon University to review PLIF. Professor Peter Reid and Caroline Whitehead produced an official Review of the Public Library Improvement Fund which highlighted the high value library services place on the fund. The paper also made recommendations for the future which SLIC has taken on board.

You can read more about The PLIF Review in our Research & Skills section.