With the latest round of awards from SLIC's Public Library Improvement Fund (PLIF) announced yesterday, this week's blog is from Inverclyde Cultural Services Manager Alana Ward, highlighting the successful Library Live project.

After liaising with the artist, hiring the PA system, promoting the event and selling the tickets – we were ready for the day of the gig.

The first music concert to be held in Greenock Central Library, the Maisie Peters gig was arranged as part of the Get It Loud In Libraries (GILIL) programme of events. Developed to promote entertainment, participation and education in libraries through quality live gigs, the programme has previously featured stars such Adele, Jessie J, Clean Bandit and many more.

As part of GILIL, and supported by SLIC, Library Live was launched in Scotland in 2017, with the first gig featuring Edinburgh-based singer songwriter Callum Beattie in Alford Library, Aberdeenshire. Three gigs followed in late 2017 and earlier this year, with Dundee solo artist Be Charlotte performing in Dalkeith Library in Midlothian and YouTube star Maisie Peters carrying out a tour of Greenock, Irvine and Bellshill libraries. The music of the legendary Aidan Moffat, formerly of influential indie band Arab Strap, was said to have “rocked the shelves” at Wick Library in Caithness.

Certainly, the gig I attended in Greenock was a huge success. As well as utilizing our libraries to provide live music – often in smaller towns and more remote areas – Library Live also aims to increase access to digital participation, and creative mentoring and volunteering opportunities for young people in the arts. The feedback from the projects suggests these aims were achieved.

Maisie Peters gig

And the use of libraries as venues also came in for praise. The gigs were designed to be warm, friendly and inclusive events, suitable for all ages, where teens had no need for ID, and lone women and young people living with protected characteristics felt safe and comfortable. And so, it was particularly satisfying that a number of young girls who attended the Maisie Peters shows described libraries as the perfect environment for them to enjoy one of their favourite artists. We also found that, as a safe space, we were the venue of choice for a number of young people’s “first gig” experiences.

Earlier this week, funding was announced for phase 2 of Library Live as part of the latest round of awards from the Public Library Improvement Fund, with gigs planned in Clackmannanshire, Falkirk, Fife, Renfrewshire, Edinburgh, Stirling and Angus. Find out more about how to put on a library gig in the Library Live Toolkit, the guide that was drawn up after phase 1 of the project.

Alana Ward is Inverclyde Cultural Services Manager and was the Project Manager for phase 1 of Library Live