The Public Library Improvement Fund is now open with £450,000 available to support innovation in Scottish public libraries.

The Fund is available every year to public libraries throughout Scotland and supports creative and pioneering projects. It is administered by the Scottish Library and Information Council on behalf of the Scottish Government.

Supporting Scotland's Public Library Services

Book shelf with books and an iPadEvery successful project needs to demonstrate how they meet the aims of Scotland’s public library strategy, Ambition and Opportunity: A Strategy for Public Libraries in Scotland 2015-2020. This year priority will also be given to applications which support a COVID-19 response – specifically how libraries can support economic recovery as well as health and wellbeing within communities. Bids are also welcomed for projects supporting the three main ambitions of A Culture Strategy for Scotland.

Cabinet Secretary for Economy, Fair Work & Culture Fiona Hyslop said: "The Scottish Government places great importance on libraries and recognises their tremendous strength and resilience throughout these challenging times, proving they have a vital role to play in Scotland’s economic, social and cultural life.

“I’m pleased to announce that this year’s Public Library Improvement Fund – which will help deliver creative and innovative library projects within communities throughout Scotland – is now open for applications. The Fund offers public libraries the opportunity to explore new ways to bring people together while observing new guidelines and restrictions, something that is particularly important as we begin to recover from the impacts of COVID-19.”

SLIC Chief Executive Pamela Tulloch added: “After what has been an exceptionally tough year for public libraries with service interruptions due to Covid-19, the fund will provide opportunities for new projects designed to meet the bespoke needs of their local communities.

“Libraries are so much more than simply a place to borrow books as many of the previous PLIF projects have demonstrated. They really can help bring people together and out of social isolation, which is more important than ever as we begin to adapt to the new normal post-lockdown.

“We look forward to receiving this year’s submissions and learning about the many ways public libraries are planning to transform their service.”

The last round of the Public Library Improvement Fund saw 12 projects funded with just under £300,000 awarded in total. Each of the projects linked directly to one or more of the six strategic aims of the public library strategy and included a range of individual and partnership bids.

Successful bids were received from 11 library services from the Western Isles to West Lothian and included initiatives to promote libraries as cultural hubs;  to facilitate conversation and provide support to people experiencing communication barriers; to improve children’s enjoyment and attainment in literacy and create opportunities for digital participation; to embed a creative technologist in rural Perthshire and to encourage library use for family learning activities in partnership with the Children’s University Scotland.

Public libraries now have until 20th November 2020 to submit their applications for the chance to receive an allocation of this year’s fund.


Start your application process by reading more about the Public Library Improvement Fund.