This week on the SLIF blog our Business Support Officer for Public Libraries Shaunagh Jones talks about the Public Library Improvement Fund and how helpful the How good is our public library service framework can be.

In my role as the Business Support Officer (Public Libraries), I’m looking forward to meeting members, discovering more about their work and supporting them with the Public Library Improvement Fund (PLIF). Since joining SLIC a few weeks ago, I’ve learnt about the exciting services libraries offer, from film making workshops to mobile provision not to mention dog-friendly schemes!

I’m keen to talk to and meet with more public library members, so if you want to talk about your project idea for PLIF, participate in a How good is our public library service review or have any other queries please contact me.

How Good is Our Public Library Service? (HGIOPLS)

If you are interested in our Public Library Improvement Fund, it’s a good time to start thinking about a HGIOPLS review. HGIOPLS is a quality assurance tool which gives public library services the opportunity to evaluate how effective they are, identify areas for improvement and demonstrate their impact in a changing environment.

The framework involves a self-evaluation and peer review, providing an opportunity to share good practice. For instance, West Lothian Library Services took part in HGIOPLS in July 2018 and focussed on reader’s experience. They received a ‘good’ rating in their peer review and were commended on their Young Writer of the Year competition as an excellent example of partnership engagement, with 100% sign-up from schools across the authority.

Neighbourhood Manager, Anne-Marie Vance, said: “The self-evaluation process was exceptionally valuable as it highlighted strengths within our service as well as areas for development.

“It helped us have real honest chats with our customers, especially at our book groups. It provided opportunities to offer new and improved services, bring in new customers and extend the reach within the communities.”

For 2019/20, the SLIC Funding Sub-committee will take HGIOPLS engagement into account when making their final decision on PLIF applications, and you will be asked about your plans for a review in the application form.

Public Library Improvement Fund (PLIF)

If you’re thinking about applying for PLIF during 2019 we recommend looking at the guidance, application guidance and application form, so you can start formulating your ideas.

We want to fund creative and innovative library projects that help achieve the vision of Ambition and Opportunity: A Strategy for Public Libraries in Scotland. Previously funded projects include tackling social isolation through virtual reality technology, accredited volunteering programmes, and live music performances.

SLIC’s Funding Sub-committee look for projects to demonstrate sustainability, good value for money and scalability, so it’s worth considering these when submitting your bid. We’re also interested in partnership bids, including those involving school libraries, higher education institutions, further education colleges, and health libraries. For more ideas and the chance to see how other public library services have successfully applied to PLIF you can visit the SLIC blog.