Scotland's public libraries have adapted and evolved for over 150 years to connect individuals and communities to information, knowledge and culture. They provide a highly valued universal service which at its heart is about opening up a world of opportunity to everyone.
Since the launch of Ambition & Opportunity: A Strategy for Public Libraries in Scotland 2015 - 2020 over 2.3 million has been invested in our public libraries, bringing a positive focus and energy to the library community. Moreover, it has enabled key partners and stakeholders to engage with the library sector to support its goals.
In a digital age our public libraries are demonstrating tremendous strength and resilience, proving they have a key part to play in Scotland’s economic, political, social and cultural life.
In late 2016 we produced our Realising Ambition & Opportunity brochure and poster which celebrates the strategy’s first successful year and outlines some of the key projects and investments made. This includes £47,000 secured by SLIC through the Digital Xtra Fund to roll out coding in libraries and £190,000 from Creative Scotland to fund film education in libraries.
You can learn more about the achievements made so far by listening to the speech made by Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs, at our celebration event in September 2016.
As with other public services in Scotland, this is a time of significant transition and change. The Strategy is based on the expectation that there will be increasing pressure on local authorities to reduce their spending levels, and to prioritise the services they fund.
Libraries represent incredible good value for money in terms of the scale of their impact on local communities. In this climate public libraries have an opportunity to re-present themselves to the public and to policy makers as centres of learning, innovation and creativity.
The future success of libraries will be determined by how successfully they respond to the changing needs and aspirations of communities, and the constantly evolving digital world.
You can learn more about the individual aims and current progress of Ambition & Opportunity by reading our National Strategy Advisory Group page.