Public library services across Scotland will benefit from a £200,000 improvement fund, the Cabinet Secretary for Economy, Fair Work and Culture, Fiona Hyslop, announced today.

Administered by the Scottish Library and Information Council (SLIC), the awards form part of the Public Library Improvement Fund (PLIF), which was designed to support innovation in libraries, but will this year also focus on supporting library responses to COVID-19. The fund has a key role to play in helping library services achieve the vision set out by the national public library strategy, Ambition & Opportunity.

Six projects from local authorities across Scotland will use the funding to deliver creative projects which bolster literacy and learning, digital inclusion and social wellbeing.

Outstanding Initiatives

One of the most ambitious projects, which has been allocated more than £85,000, is being led by Glasgow’s public libraries and involves 18 other library services. Nineteen library services will work collaboratively to invest in equipment, training and resources to help tackle the digital divide which has been exacerbated by the pandemic. The funding will help take core library services, including reading and information services, online.

Other successful bids include a project in Inverclyde designed to improve mental wellbeing and feelings of loneliness, as well as a bid from South Lanarkshire which focuses on protecting learning services for children adversely affected by school and nursery closures.

Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop said: “I am pleased to announce this year’s Public Library Improvement Fund winners, six distinct projects from local authorities across Scotland. We are fortunate to have such outstanding initiatives in our communities, and I look forward to seeing the important work they will undertake to further enhance our library services.”

Pamela Tulloch, Chief Executive, SLIC said: “This year, we’ve seen first-hand how forward-thinking and creative our public library services can be when faced with adversity, and we’re pleased to be able to support them in developing creative solutions to respond to the challenges which have arisen as a result of the pandemic. We have been really impressed with the originality and imagination of our library services in their response to Covid-19 and this is something that has been hugely reflected in this year’s funding applications.

“Funding like this is vital to finding solutions that will help to deliver new ideas and initiatives in our local communities, but also help to preserve and safeguard lifeline library services for the future.”