A new business hub for entrepreneurs and small businesses has opened for membership at the Dunfermline Carnegie Library & Galleries (DCL&G). The hub is the first of its kind in Scotland and is part of the Scottish Library and Information Council’s (SLIC) Scottish Coworking Network, which is being piloted in public libraries across Scotland.

The project has been developed by SLIC with Scottish Government funding and is aimed at providing local entrepreneurs, freelance workers, start-ups and micro businesses with dedicated space to work, meet and collaborate. Hub members have access to 14 fixed desks, five hot desks and meeting rooms within the library. They can also use online resources and forums as well as accessing a programme of professional development workshops and events.

Membership is available from £42 (£35 plus vat) per month for a hot desk and £60 (£50 plus vat) per month for a fixed desk. Members will be able to use any of the hubs within the Scottish Coworking Network, subject to availability. Further hubs in other parts of Scotland will follow in the coming weeks.

The project sits at the heart of Ambition and Opportunity - a national strategy for public libraries in Scotland 2015-2020, which reinforces the role which public libraries play in supporting employability, innovation, entrepreneurship and creativity.

Libraries at the Heart of Communities

Pamela Tulloch, chief executive, SLIC said: “Scotland’s public libraries offer the perfect environment to support aspiring entrepreneurs.  Libraries are located at the heart of communities, they are connected, and offer an abundance of information and resources.  The new hubs will offer equal access to a support structure that will help people turn their passions and ideas into sustainable employment.  They are ideal for small sole traders and those who may be currently running a small business from their kitchen or dining room table. 

“We hope the presence of this resource in local libraries will encourage more people to consider self-employment by removing barriers, supporting innovation and providing practical tools and information. This project is further demonstration of the changing role of public libraries and how services are transforming to ensure they meet the needs of modern communities.”

June Souter, libraries service development manager at ONFife Cultural Trust added: “We’re very excited to be providing this space for small businesses in our beautiful award-winning building.  Our vision is to bring more and more people into ONFife Libraries with a range of events and projects like this. Dunfermline Carnegie Library & Galleries is already a busy multi-service venue and this confirms its role at the heart of the community.”

SLIC has commissioned independent researchers to assist with evaluation of the pilot.  The evaluation will provide a roadmap to enable library services across Scotland to roll-out the concept, with the aim of creating a national network of dedicated spaces in libraries for entrepreneurs.