In 2019 SLIC awarded ten Scottish public library services a share of £201,269 from the Public Library Improvement Fund (PLIF). The annual fund supports the transformation and modernisation of services within the public library sector and is administered by SLIC on behalf of the Scottish Government. PLIF plays a key role in helping Scottish library services achieve the vision set out in Ambition & Opportunity: A Strategy for Public Libraries in Scotland 2015-2020.
Initiatives which have benefited from funding this year include £32,500 to support ONFife's Libraries Aspiring Learners project. Delivered in partnership with Children’s University Scotland, it encourages library use as a venue for family learning activities. Meanwhile High Life Highland received £5,400 for their Mind Hubs: Mental Agility, Physical Dexterity project to develop welcoming spaces for individuals to participate in various activities which stimulate cognitive functioning.
Other successful projects bids include a Comic-Con style event in the Western Isles, and a West Lothian initiative, Gift O’ the Gab, which provides support and resources to people experiencing communication barriers.
Please find below details of the successful 2019 applications, including collaborative initiatives and individual projects.
PLIF 2019 Collaborative Public Library Projects

In 2019 one collaborative bid was funded by the Public Library Improvement Fund. Collaborative bids are those where public library services from throughout Scotland come together to create innovative projects which benefit multiple communities.

Award: £70,000

This is a collaborative project between Live Life Aberdeenshire, Aberdeen City Libraries, ANGUSAlive, Live Argyll, Leisure & Culture Dundee, High Life Highland, Inverclyde Libraries, Culture NL, Culture Perth & Kinross and South Lanarkshire Leisure and Culture.

The aim of the project is to procure and implement a single Library Management System involving up to 15 Scottish public library services through a market retendering process. It will build upon the work of the One Card Pilot, with a view to moving to a single card system which over 50% of public library services adopt.

PLIF 2019 Public Library Projects

Read to Me

Award: £4,750

The main aim of this project is to improve children's enjoyment and attainment in literacy as well as creating new opportunities for digital participation within communities.

As part of the scheme a special collection of books will be narrated by pupils, catering staff, crossing partrol staff, librarians and teachers amongst others. They will then be stored in a cloud based system and accessed by scanning a custom QR code. Special pop-up book recording sessions will also be scheduled throughout the year.

Libraries Inspiring Learners with Children's University Scotland

Award: £32,500

Encouraing library use as a venue of family learning activities is the key factor in this partnership project. This pilot will examine the quality and value of family orientated activities libraries offer, with Children's University Scotland offering established guidance on the learning outcomes these deliver. 

The project also aims to open up participation with Children's University Scotland to every child by allowing children to sign up at their local library.

Highland Mind Hubs: Mental Agility & Physical Dexterity

Award: £5,400

A focus on combating social isolation and increasing community engagement are the main aims of this innovative scheme.

Through partnerships with Alzheimer's Scotland and High Life Highland's existing High Voltage teenage volunteering programme, the project will offer a safe and supportive environment where participants can access a wide range of board games. A comprehensive staff training programme will also be delivered. 

Making Waves: Establishing Libraries as Cultural Hubs


The aim of this project is to generate creative communities, which enhance engagement with culture and creativity across the local authority, and encourage wider cross-community conversations. 

The creative communities will use activities such as embedded reading, digital literacy and wider learning to promote social wellbeing, community engagement and empowerment. Staff training and a proven sustainability model will ensure this project contributes to excellent public services, developing and promoting the core offer from Inverclyde Libraries. 

Innovator in Residence

Award: £25,814

This innovative project will establish a Creative Technologist in Residence (CTiR) in rural Perthshire libraries, transforming our understanding of the role of the library in the 21st Century. 

As part of the scheme Culture Perth & Kinross are installing four Makerspaces in their Strathearn, Highland, Kinross-shire and Strathmore Libraries, building on existing provision in the AK Bell in Perth city centre

The CTiR will enhance these physical environments, developing opportunities for creative engagement with technology, demonstrating possibilities and significantly improving the digital skills of people in rural parts of the region.

The outputs of the Residency will include workshops, events and exhibitions. Content generated in the Makerspaces will also be shared as part of the biennial Platform Festival 2020.

Renfrewshire eSports Athlete Programme

Award: £7,450

This scheme looks to encourage young people between the ages of 12-18-years-old to adopt healthy lifestyles and act as a preventative measure to gaming addiction. 

The project will use eSports as a way to encourage new digital activies and establish a new generation of digital content creators, who have the skills they need to pursue a career in sports and associated industries.

Bookworms: Libraries as Green Champions

Award: £3,732

Bookworms aims to establish two core groups to make positive use of outdoor open spaces in Carnegie and Troon Libraries, with a focus on contribution to biodiversity and creativity. It will encourage inter-generational working and improve the health & wellbeing of those participating.

An integral feature of the project is library membership status, which will provide ample access to library resources to help inform. An opportunity to create a Sensory Garden also exists and will build on current work delivered for children and young people with Additional Support Needs.


Creating Space: Supporting Children with ASN and Their Families

Award: £16,404

Creating Space will establish a welcoming and flexible library space for children with Additional Support Needs (ASN) and their families within South Ayrshire Libraries.

Some children and young people need extra help to make progress, which can mean different supports for different children. Additional support can also last for only a short time or could last for much longer

A combination of specialist staff training and equity of provision will ensure people with ASN and their famillies feel welcome and secure. This in turn will encourage reading and library use.

Gift o’ the Gab

Award: £5,844

This scheme aims to facilitate conversation by providing support and resources to people experiencing communication barriers, particularly those recovering from the effects of a stroke. By providing a safe and supporting environment for participants, the project will promote conversation and strive to enrich the lives of those taking part.

Comic Con Hebrides

Award: £3,815

Comic Con Hebrides is a pilot project featuring a range of fun activities for all ages which will celebrate science fiction, horror, weird and fantasist culture through exploring books, graphic novels, games, film, arts and crafts. 

Activities planned include an author talk, cult horror movie nights, superhero drawing workshops, a retro-gaming session, a VR game challenge, green screen fantasy/super hero photo sessions and a library podcast. In Stornoway, the library’s makerspace will become a focal point, encouraing young people to comes to the library to meet like-minded people and take part. The long-term aim is to make the Comic-Con an annual event with the support of partnership organisations.