The Scottish Library and Information Council celebrates its 30th anniversary today and is calling on people, decision makers and budget holders, from Shetland to the Borders, to recognise the value and impact of library services to thriving, successful communities.
In a year when individuals, students, pupils, businesses and organisations continue to face huge upheaval due to coronavirus, SLIC is using its milestone anniversary to remind communities and key stakeholders that libraries and information services have a huge part to play in society.
Members of our organisation represent public libraries, school libraries, libraries at higher and further education institutions, health libraries and special interest information services, with each bringing their own expertise, knowledge and innovation to the sector.
Pamela Tulloch, chief executive at SLIC said: “Library and information services are life-changing. They give people and communities free access to information, research, archives and resources that enable them to make positive and informed choices and improvements, from education and new skills to health and wellbeing information and advice and employment. They help people access vital services and support to engage in the democratic process.
“The Covid-19 pandemic has brought the value of libraries into focus as librarians and library staff have gone above and beyond to ensure maintain services. We believe Scotland’s library and information services will have a huge role to play in the country’s recovery from the pandemic and we urge decision makers to ensure ongoing investment in services.”
Since it was established in 1991 with only one officer, SLIC has grown to a team of eight and has been central to huge transformation in library services, including the advent of the internet and digitization of newspapers. Key achievements from the last three decades include:
- 2018: launch of Scottish Coworking Network of business hubs in libraries
- 2018: launch of the first national strategy for school libraries in Scotland (and the UK)
- 2015: launch of the first national strategy for public libraries in Scotland (and the UK)
- 2015: roll-out of free wifi in every public library (2015)
- 2000: roll-out of The People’s Network, a ground-breaking initiative to provide public access to broadband and PCs
- 1998: a strategic review of library and information provision for the NHS in Scotland
- 1994: launched a quality standard for performance and resource in Scottish college libraries
- 1993 to 2003: key partner in Newsplan Scotland, a large-scale project to preserve and archive 3.97 million pages of Scottish newspapers on microfilm for historical purposes
Over the last 30 years, in partnership with the Scottish Government, SLIC has invested millions of pounds in innovative library projects through various national funding programmes, including the Public Library Improvement Fund (PLIF), School Library Improvement Fund (SLIF) and Innovation and Development Fund (IDF). SLIC regularly commissions and undertakes research to inform continuous improvement in library services, and supports professional development of librarians and library staff with bursaries for events and conferences. In the last five years, SLIC has expanded its scope considerably, building upon existing partnerships and forging new ones, particularly in the education sector and business community.
Pamela Tulloch added: “The last three decades of work that SLIC has completed has made a huge contribution to the development of the sector in Scotland and we have championed many innovative projects that really highlight the value of reading and information handling.
“We’d like to thank all of our members and partners for their support over the last three decades. Our greatest strength is our membership, and it is only by working together that our full expertise can be shared nationwide.
SLIC will celebrate its 30th anniversary by hosting a year of special events with more details being announced throughout the year.