A new public library strategy for Scotland is now in development.

As outlined in the Culture Strategy, the Scottish Government has asked SLIC to help formulate a new strategy.

A Public Library Strategy Advisory Group has been established with Jeanette Castle, University Librarian at the University of the West of Scotland (UWS), appointed as chair.

The group comprises of members from across the library sector and other key stakeholders in Scotland. It will support the vision and development of a new public library strategy for Scotland from 2021. 

The five-year strategy will focus on people, place and partnerships. It will also consider the impact of COVID-19, climate change and the need for sustainability. Crucially, it will develop how public libraries can combine both their physical and digital services to ensure a stronger post-pandemic future for public library services in Scotland.

Over the course of the next few months the Advisory Group will make recommendations for the strategy and articulate a national vision for public libraries and how this can be achieved.

Forming the Next Public Library Strategy

The new public library strategy for Scotland will be informed thorough various methods of engagement and consideration. This includes:


  • A comprehensive literature review highlighting best practice on a global scale
  • Independent deliberative research
  • Stakeholder surveys
  • Regular workshops
  • A series of virtual visits to public libraries
  • Presentations by internationally renowned speakers


During the coronavirus pandemic, the work of the Strategy Advisory Group will be carried out remotely and online. Group members are currently using digital technology to meet and inform the aims of the new strategy. 

The Foundations of the New Strategy: Ambition & Opportunity

The new strategy will build upon the success of Ambition & Opportunity: A Strategy for Public Libraries in Scotland 2015 – 2020 and the Ambition & Opportunity Refresh published in 2019.

More than £5million has been invested in Scotland's public libraries to help develop services since the launch of Scotland's first public library strategy. The Ambition & Opportunity Refresh highlighted the steady progress made since 2015 and acknowledged some changes to the original Strategic Aims due to the fast-paced changes in public libraries.

You can read more about Scotland’s first public library strategy, Ambition & Opportunity: A Strategy for Public Libraries in Scotland 2015 – 2020 and the Ambition & Opportunity refresh by downloading the documents below.

Ambition & Opportunity Scottish Public Library Strategy 2015- 2020 Ambition & Opportunity Refresh 2019