In August this year Sara Thomas joined the SLIC team as the first ever Wikimedian in Residence for Scottish Public Libraries. Here she talks about her role and upcoming plans for the future.


I’m Sara Thomas, aka @lirazelf, and I’m delighted to have taken up the role of Wikimedian in Residence with the Scottish Library and Information Council, from now until February 2019. 

It’s great to be back into the Wikimedia fold once more, following my previous residency with Museums Galleries Scotland, which ran from January 2015 – June 2016.  During the course of that residency, I spoke at SLIC’s Digital Champions meeting about Libraries & Wikimedia. Following that, project proposers Inverclyde Libraries applied for funding for a Scottish public library Wikimedian through the Public Library Improvement Fund. 

Libraries as Content Creators

The SLIC residency feels like a very natural progression from that at MGS, as a networked residency working across an entire sector. Here, again, my primary focus will be on advocacy and training. 

We’re aiming to establish public libraries as quality content creators in the digital sphere, and to provide open access to freely usable content about Scottish culture, derived from our rich library collections.

Steering Group

The residency will be supported by a steering group, whose members will be drawn from key partners and stakeholders, including the National Library of Scotland, and Museums Galleries Scotland

We’ve got a great base from which to begin this work. In 2015, SLIC published Ambition and Opportunity: A Strategy for Public Libraries in Scotland 2015-2020, outlining six key aims:

  • Reading, literacy and learning
  • Digital inclusion
  • Economic wellbeing
  • Social wellbeing
  • Culture and creativity
  • Excellent public services
First Phase

Nationally, Scottish public libraries already offer Code Clubs, 3D Printing and WiFi access, and we’re excited to explore how open knowledge will add to this landscape. As a lifelong library user, I’m really proud to be playing a part in bringing Scottish public libraries and the Wikimedia movement together. 

I’m based at SLIC’s offices in Glasgow, however I’ll likely often be found visiting local libraries and library staff across Scotland. It’s a phased programme, with the first phase scheduled from now until January 2018, during which time we’ll be securing and training our initial partners, engaging in a public library content audit, and staging a small number of editing events. 

Can’t wait to get started!