Below you will find the Application Form Guidance for library services using the online application form to apply to the Public Library Improvement Fund (PLIF) 2023-2024. You can also download a PDF version of the information detailed below

Please read through the Guidance for Applicants before applying to the Fund. If you have a question about the Fund you can visit the Public Library Improvement Fund FAQ page. You can also contact SLIC by emailing  

A: Project Title

Please enter a short title that describes the main aims or outcomes of your project. This will be used when referring to the project in future and in any promotional materials if the application is successful. 

B: Applicant Details

Please enter the details of the person within your library service who will be leading the implementation of this project. This person will be SLIC’s main point of contact regarding the project 

C: Project Aim/s

Which of the aims outlined in Forward: Scotland’s Public Library Strategy 2021-2025 does your project support? 

All successful PLIF projects will have a direct link to one or more of the strategic aims of Forward: Scotland’s Public Library Strategy 2021-2025. Please state which of the strategic aim/s your project links to by ticking all that apply on the online form.  

Project Summary (300-word limit) 

Please give a brief summary of your project, clearly linking to the strategic aim/s identified previously. Each year SLIC and the Scottish Government identify priorities for the Public Library Improvement Fund (PLIF). This year, priority will be given to projects which support the following: 

  • Bridging the Digital Divide 
  • Tackling the cost of living crisis (economic wellbeing) 
  • Closing the attainment gap 
  • Sustainability  

Amount of Funding Requested 

State the total sum requested from PLIF in support of your project. There is no minimum or maximum amount that you can apply for and you can submit more than one application. A maximum of two Individual Applications per library service is allowed. 

D. Project Partners

Are you applying to the Fund in partnership with another organisation? 

If you are applying in partnership with other library services or external organisations, who are essential delivery partners, please provide details. It is not necessary to list every agency you will interact with over the course of the project. 

If YES, please give details. 

Outline how the partners will be involved in the delivery of your project. 

Section 1: Organisation

Please give details of the project team who will be involved in the delivery of the project.

Include details of each person’s role in supporting the project as well as their normal job title. 

Section 2: Background

Please provide information about why you want to run this project.  

The background information may include factors specific to your service such as previous work, existing resources or staff expertise that may be relevant to this project. You may also wish to include details of relevant policies, research or good practice elsewhere which supports your application (300 word limit). 

Section 3: Project Details

Explain what your project will achieve, outline your delivery plans and tell us why you’ve chosen this approach.  

Use this section to provide a detailed outline of the proposed project. Make sure you cover all activities included within the project, with details of how these will be delivered and how they meet key aims. A clear rationale for the outlined approach also needs to be provided (700 word limit).

Section 4: Project Outcomes

What will change in the short and medium term as a result of your project?   

Include details of the tangible outputs or actions resulting from project activity, as well as the outcomes arising from these (i.e. project targets reached). (300 word limit).

Section 5: Project Impact

(a) Please state the intended impact of the project and outline plans for measuring success. 

Provide details of the impact your project will have, ensuring it is clearly linked to the strategic aims of Forward: Scotland’s Public Library Strategy 2021-2025. If your application relates to one or more of this year's funding priorities (outlined above), please give details. Outline the approach you will adopt in evaluating the success of the project. Please include success criteria and a statement on how performance against these will be measured. 

(b) How will your proposed project enhance the quality of service delivery and professional practice in the context of your own organisation? (300-word limit) 

Indicate how the project contributes to service development – how will the project enhance the core offer of your libraries? The impact on staff development and professional practice should also be outlined in this section. 

(c) What value could your project have in supporting service development and enhancing professional practice in the wider sector? (300-word limit) 

Outline the potential benefits your project could have in supporting library service development across Scotland. You may wish to consider the potential for scaling up your project for wider application, as well as the value of sharing your experiences and lessons learned with the wider library community. 

Section 6: Project Plan

The project plan is a crucial part of the application form. It provides evidence that a PLIF project has been well conceived and is deliverable. A project plan should aim to:   

  • Include all the steps that will be required to fully deliver the project including key milestones. This could be initial meetings, training, engagement with partners, procurement, delivery of workshops and/or activities, and an evaluation phase.  
  • Include an estimate of when each step in the project will be completed.  Dates are required to be indicative and sequential, but it is not necessary to provide an exact day. 
  • Provide as much information as possible about each step.  Please note the tangible output(s) that you expect to achieve by the time this step is reached. 
  • Be realistic about what the project can achieve within a year – the expected length of the project.   

SLIC understand that problems can arise that can adversely affect timelines. This could include issues with recruitment and procurement, a change in activities, or partners. Projects that experience these types of challenges should contact SLIC at the earliest opportunity.  

Section 7: Project Management

What will be the arrangements for managing your proposed project? Please include details of partner participation, if applicable. 

Provide details of the structures and mechanisms that will be put in place to manage the project. You may wish to refer to the different roles and responsibilities outlined in Section 1 of the application (300 word limit). 


Section 8: Finance

Please provide details of the expenditure identified for the project, inserting rows as required.  

Identify the main areas of expenditure for your project and indicate the likely date of the expenditure and the exact amount requested from PLIF. Please include details of funding from other sources where applicable. The total project cost of each activity needs to be reflected in the end column of the table, with the total cost from PLIF and other budgets appearing in the last row of the relevant columns. Please round the figures up to the nearest pound. 

Section 9: Sustainability

What are your plans for sustaining project activity after the funding period ends? 

Outline the plans and procedures that will be put into place to ensure that the project outcomes and benefits will continue beyond the funding period (300 word limit).

Section 10: Risk Management

What are the main risks for your project? 

Identify the main risks for your project and assign each a level of risk associated with the likelihood of this factor occurring. Note the potential impact of each risk in the ‘Impact’ column and indicate the level of impact this factor could have on potential project outcomes. High risk factors for your project need to be clearly indicated. 

Use the ‘Action to manage risk’ column to provide details of the arrangements in place and potential workarounds that would apply in the event of these risks being realised.  

Section 11: Service Overview

This section allows you to provide some context about your current operating environment in order to support your application.  

Please provide details of any significant changes to service provision within your library service in the last three years or any impending changes that you are aware of at the time of submitting your application. 

Section 12: Project Dates

What is the date on which the proposed project will commence? 

Indicate a start date for the project. 

What is the date on which the proposed project will finish? 

Enter an indicative end date for the project. 

Which financial years (April to March) does your project fall within? 

Please tick on the online form in which financial year/s the project will take pace. 

PLIF projects are normally expected to be completed, and award funds expended, in the financial year in which an award is made. If your project will follow a different timetable – i.e. the end date stated above is in a different financial year to the indicated start date - please note all financial years in which project activity will take place.  

Section 13: Dissemination

The Scottish Library & Information Council (SLIC) will disseminate reports from your project through its website. SLIC may also request a follow-up report about the impact of your project between 12 and 24 months after the grant is issued. If successful, the letter of award will provide details of reporting requirements  

Section 14: Declaration

Please tick the check box to indicate that your organisation recognises the “Fair Work First” scheme. 

On 1 July 2023, the Scottish Government updated its Fair Work First policy. Organisations seeking a grant from the Scottish Library and Information Council must confirm their compliance with the latest Fair Work First policy before they can access it.  

In addition, the new conditions of grant will state that evidence may be requested to support this Fair Work declaration. This could be a written statement outlining how effective voice has been implemented within an organisation or a trade union recognition agreement. Alternatively, the Real Living Wage requirement could be met by achieving accreditation through the Living Wage Foundation 

SLIC would encourage all members to consider how their organisation and any potential partners meet the Fair Work First policy from the beginning of their application.  Please seek advice from the Scottish Government on the Fair Work Policy if necessary. 

Head of Library Service (or equivalent) 

Include details of the most senior library service manager in this section. This person will be SLIC’s main point of contact regarding the Grant Award. 

Line manager of Head of Library Service (or equivalent), or Director of Finance 

Include details of the person to whom the Head of Library Service (or equivalent) reports to or by the Director of Finance.  

Partners (where applicable) 

Include details of a senior manager from the partner organisation.  


Note: The online application form does not require signatures. Confirmation of signatures, including those of partners will be required, if successful, as part of the Conditions of Grant. You may use the Word template provided to help you complete your application form but final applications must be submitted using the online form.