If you are planning on submitting an application to the School Library Improvement Fund, you can find the answers to some Frequently Asked Questions below.

For any enquiries not detailed below please email info@scottishlibraries.org and we will be happy to answer any questions regarding your application.

The School Library Improvement Fund (SLIF) is a funding stream which supports innovative projects within the school library sector. It is available to all state run schools in Scotland and is administered by the Scottish Library and Information Council (SLIC) on behalf of the Scottish Government.

It is not intended to fund new school libraries but support and develop established school libraries. Reading about previously successful SLIF projects is a good way to find out more about the type of initiative SLIF supports.

Every Local Authority in Scotland has been allocated a School Key Contact. This is to help with the SLIF application process. Your Key Contact can offer you guidance with your application and, crucially, has to sign your application before it is submitted to SLIC. There is only one Key Contact in every local authority. 

Your Key Contact is unlikely to be your Headteacher but could be the Head of Public Libraries, an Education Manager or a Quality Improvement Officer (QIO). Please contact your Local Authority to find out the name of your SLIF Key Contact.

School and library closures has resulted in many SLIF projects being temporarily put on hold. The SLIC team are contacting all Project Managers of active SLIF projects to discuss the way forward.

In the meantime, if you have a question about your funding you can get in touch by emailing info@scottishlibraries.org

By signing your application, your Key Contact is confirming that they have vetted your application. In some instances, the Key Contact will be handling multiple applications and may need to compile a shortlist before submission. If you do not get your Key Contact to sign the application, SLIC has no way of knowing they have read through your application and put it forward for consideration. If the form is not fully signed your application will not progress any further.

A PROJECT PARTNER is a party who is involved in the project. This can be another school, any organisation or charity. 

A COLLABORATIVE BID is an application made by two or more schools from separate Local Authorities or project partners. Schools working together within the same authority is not regarded as a collaborative bid but rather partnership working.

An unlimited number of collaborative bids can be submitted.


SLIF specifically helps schools in Scotland who already have a dedicated school library and who want to improve their services and provision. It is not for schools looking to establish a new library. Organisations such as The Foyle Foundation can help those looking to set up a school library from scratch.

There is a limit of two applications to give each Local Authority an equal opportunity to be considered for funding. There is no limit on the number of collaborative bids SLIC will accept.

Your School Key Contact is ideally placed to help you in the first instance.

Every SLIF application has to have a direct link to at least one of the Strategic Aims of Vibrant Libraries, Thriving Schools - A National Strategy for School Libraries in Scotland 2018-2023. These are:

  • Strategic Aim 1: School libraries in Scotland are a key resource and are central to the implementation of Curriculum for Excellence, develop pupil skills for the world of work, and encourage learning that will stay with pupils throughout their lives.
  • Strategic Aim 2: School libraries in Scotland use digital technology to deliver high-quality and efficient digital learning experiences for young people, enabling access to information and creative opportunities.
  • Strategic Aim 3: School libraries in Scotland are central to education for all ages, develop a culture of reading for pleasure, offer literacy numeracy support from ELC settings through to primary and secondary schools, and enable opportunities for family learning.
  • Strategic Aim 4: School libraries in Scotland contribute to health literacy, social and mental wellbeing, and provide a safe, trusted space for children and young people to be nurtured.
  • Strategic Aim 5: School libraries in Scotland are essential to closing the attainment gap, support all curriculum areas, are well-supported by the school management team and operate under a successful working model.

Your application should be submitted directly to your Key Contact for shortlisting. They will then send the application directly to SLIC.

You need to send your application to your Key Contact in advance of the closing date to allow them sufficient time to assess which applications will go forward to SLIC. Please be aware that your application form needs to be signed by both the Key Contact and by the Headteacher or Director of Education/Finance before submission.

Whether you have been successful or not, we will inform you by letter via your School Key Contact after submissions close.