Over £1.4 million of funding has been allocated to public libraries across Scotland as a result of the first national public library strategy.

Ambition and Opportunity: A Strategy for Public Libraries in Scotland 2015-2020 was launched in June 2015 to re-invigorate the role and perception of libraries and to address the challenges and opportunities of the 21st century.  The strategy sets out six strategic aims to build on the strong heritage of Scotland’s libraries and to promote reading, literacy and learning; digital inclusion; economic wellbeing; social wellbeing; culture and creativity; and delivery of excellent public services.

The Scottish Library and Information Council (SLIC), which led development of the strategy with Carnegie Trust UK, has been working with partners, including Scottish Government and Creative Scotland, to implement projects to meet the strategic aims of the strategy.  In total, £1,464,000 of funding has been used to fund initiatives in libraries since work on the strategy began:

  • £450,000 for the Public Library Improvement Fund, which is open to all libraries across Scotland to fund projects to support all parts of the strategy.
  • £400,000 for the installation of WiFi in libraries to support digital inclusion (strategic aim 2).
  • £198,000 for Read, Write, Count to support reading, literacy and learning (strategic aim 1).
  • £190,000 for film education projects to support culture and creativity (strategic aim 5).
  • £80,000 for Every Child A Library Member to support reading, literacy and learning (strategic aim 1).
  • £76,000 for 3D printers in libraries to support culture and creativity (strategic aim 5).
  • £70,000 for ‘Appiness’, a project to teach young people and parents to use apps for literacy, numeracy and other subjects to support reading, literacy and learning (strategic aim 1).

Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Europe and External Affairs, Fiona Hyslop said:

“The Scottish Government places great importance on public libraries and believes that library services should be accessible to everyone and through the ‘Every Child a Library Member’ pilot we are working with local authorities to introduce automatic library membership at key stages throughout the early years.  Libraries don’t just provide access to reading material they play a crucial role in providing access to IT, improving attainment, supporting children in the early years and empowering communities.  This Government supported the development of the National Strategy for Public Libraries, which builds on the hard work of libraries across the country and highlights the key roles they play in education, culture and heritage, as well as research and innovation.

“This funding is helping libraries to continue to adapt to the changing needs of the communities they serve, whilst helping to empower and tackle inequalities.  The strategy will also ensure we make great strides towards an even brighter future for our libraries and our continued support for the Scottish Library and Information Council will help support further improvement and innovation in public library services across Scotland.”

Pamela Tulloch, Chief Executive at SLIC said:

“It’s great to see so much progress being made against the aims of the strategy just nine months after launch, with a number of innovative projects underway in libraries across Scotland involving different partners.  This represents what’s being done at a national level.  Alongside these initiatives, library services are also working at a local level to improve and build on their service, tailored to the needs of their communities.

“A key aspect of the strategy as a whole is to ensure libraries reflect the needs of modern communities.  The libraries of today are very different to libraries of the past because they have adapted to suit the people they serve.  But what remains the same is the value they offer to communities and this is underlined by the level of additional investment in these projects.  We will continue to work with library services and partners to ensure we build on the momentum achieved to build libraries fit for the 21st century.”