Background to the Working Group

The National Strategy for Scottish Public Libraries Working Group has been tasked with the development of a National Strategy for Scotland’s public libraries. The Policy and Research Timeline outlines the main policy and research developments that have contributed to the case for a National Strategy for Scotland.

Who we are

The group is chaired by Martyn Evans, Chief Executive of the Carnegie UK Trust, and comprises members with expertise from within the library profession and from other sectors and backgrounds relevant to the issue such as digital and the third sector. The secretariat is provided by the Scottish Library and Information Council (SLIC). Please see the full list of group members for more details.

The National Strategy for Scottish Public Libraries Working Group has formal relationships with two other related groups:

  • A working group drawn from councillors who are members of the COSLA Sports, Arts and Culture Working Group.
  • An advisory group of Heads of Public Library Services.

The Scottish Government and COSLA act as observers on the National Strategy for Scottish Public Libraries Working Group.
'Your Views' - Background
The National Strategy for Scottish Public Libraries Working Group aims to present a draft strategy proposal to COSLA in the first quarter of 2015.

Why we are Asking these Questions? : The case for a National Strategy

In 2012 the Carnegie UK Trust published A New Chapter, a report that touched on the various reasons why a National Strategy for public libraries is required. In 2014, The Scottish Library and Information Council developed a paper titled The Case for a National Strategy for Public Libraries (241 KB – pdf). These documents discussed how public libraries have limited national policy or leadership. This has led to a lack of a unified vision and set of services. This can inhibit public libraries’ ability to collectively deliver on strategic national policy objectives. This has the potential to weaken their position, and while they are statutory services which local authorities must provide, they are not championed in any particular national policy.

Furthermore, the current economic climate and drive to identify efficiency savings will put increasing pressure on public libraries across Scotland with many councils are having to make difficult decisions regarding funding. Other challenges public libraries face relate to the fundamental changes which have taken place in the way in which information and knowledge is created and shared. With the increasing digitisation of information, the public library service needs to have a clear vision for a future in which providing knowledge through the medium of books becomes increasingly marginal. A national strategy would ensure public libraries’ continued relevance and enable them to both consolidate and co-ordinate their ability to deliver on key policy areas. In turn, this would help public libraries to make the case for continued funding.

A national strategy would also guarantee the delivery of a core service thereby ensuring a consistent message to the public about the purpose of, and services available at, public libraries.

Results from Your Views Survey

Download a summary of the results: Executive Summary of Results from Your Views on Public Libraries Survey (394 KB pdf).

Download the whole report: Final Report BS (3 MB pdf).

Results from Deliberative Research (2.9 MB pdf)

Group members

The members of the strategic group are:

  • Martyn Evans, Chief Executive, Carnegie UK Trust (Chair)
  • Amina Shah, CEO, SLIC
  • Gillian Daly, Policy & Projects Officer, SLIC until December 2014
  • Trish Botten, Manager Libraries and Heritage, Western Isles Council
  • Duncan Campbell, Deputy Chief Executive, National Library of Scotland
  • Jeanette Castle, Library and Heritage Central Support Coordinator, West Lothian Council
  • Cleo Jones, Manager, Information and Learning Resources, City of Edinburgh Council
  • Martina McChrystal, Acting Library and Information Services Manager, City of Edinburgh Council
  • Louise Macdonald, CEO, Young Scot
  • Ian McKay, Regional Chairman, Institute of Directors (Scotland)
  • Helen Milner, Chief Executive, Tinder Foundation
  • Sophie Moxon, Acting Director, Scottish Book Trust
  • Jenny Niven, Portfolio Manager - Literature, Publishing and Languages, Creative Scotland
  • Jenny Peachey, Policy Officer, Carnegie UK Trust
  • Peter Peacock, Policy Director, Community Land Scotland
  • Robert Ruthven, Chair, Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals in Scotland (CILIPS)
  • Marion Sinclair, CEO, Publishing Scotland
  • Claire Stevens, Chief Officer, Voluntary Health Scotland
  • Rosemary Ward, Director, Gaelic Books Council
  • Anne Dagg, Policy Officer, Scottish Government (Observer)
  • Caroline Johnston, Policy Manager, COSLA (Observer)


Strategic Group Meeting - 13th January 2015

Carnegie UK Trust, Dunfermline

Strategic Group Meeting - 2nd December 2014

Royal Society of Edinburgh

Strategic Group Meeting - 4th November 2014

Royal Scots Club, Edinburgh

Strategic Group Meeting - 30th September 2014

NLS, Edinburgh

Strategic Group Meeting - 29th August 2014

Robertson Trust, Glasgow

COSLA Meeting - 27th August 2014

COSLA, Edinburgh

Heads of Public Library Services Advisory Group Meeting - 16th July 2014

Waverley Gate, Edinburgh

Strategic Group Meeting - 7th July 2014

National Library of Scotland, Edinburgh

Minutes and presentations