A total of 10 Near Me Spaces have been created in public libraries throughout Scotland with plans to establish more soon.
In 2022 SLIC was awarded £20,000 of funding from the Scottish Government’s Technology Enabled team to improve digital access to health, social care and public services in libraries.
SLIC is working in partnership with the NHS Near Me team and the Digital Health and Care Innovation Centre Health (DHI) as part of the Collective Force for Health & Wellbeing. Over the last year ten library Near Me Spaces have been established in Dumfries & Galloway, Edinburgh, East Lothian, Highland, Midlothian, Moray, North Ayrshire, Orkney, Renfrewshire and South Lanarkshire.
The newly created Near Me Spaces provide privacy to access appropriate devices and make Near Me calls to the NHS. As well as remodelling rooms to ensure privacy and providing iPads or laptops, a booking process was developed, and library staff received training.
For many, the Spaces can save long journeys and make communicating with health professionals easier. Feedback from library staff has included: ‘Used the library services because they did not have a reliable enough internet connection at home’ and ‘A self-declared non-techy member of the public was very thankful that the library staff could help. As not a fan of travelling the Near Me appointment saved them a trip.’
After the initial success of the pilot scheme more Near Me Spaces are now expected to be created within the selected public library services.