SLIC Award Winner 2021 East Lothian Library ServicesEast Lothian Council Library Services has won the inaugural SLIC Award for a sustained, imaginative, and ambitious response to the challenges posed by the COVID pandemic.

The judging panel were impressed by the verve and commitment shown by the East Lothian team to understanding the needs of their local communities and the passion and creativity with which they met these needs.

Inverclyde Library Services received a Highly Commended Award for their focus on digital support. The judges applauded Inverclyde’s response to the needs of their community which saw the library service offering a range of digital solutions, skills training, and an impressive use of online events.

Ian Ruthven, Chair of SLIC and the judging panel, said: “We saw a thoughtful and comprehensive set of initiatives from East Lothian Council Library Services which included a pop-up library, a fascinating range of new digital activities, insightful support for vulnerable library users, and even dedicating library books to children born during the pandemic.

“What was clear from this entry was a strong emphasis on experimentation and that those working in East Lothian Council Library Services felt empowered to innovate and act. Inverclyde Library Services meanwhile demonstrated a clarity of thinking about how digital technology can enhance library services and a strong sense of purpose in creating a robust digital service.”

Outstanding Initiatives

As winners of the SLIC Award 2021 East Lothian Council Library Services will receive a cash award of £5000 to enhance their current library services. Both East Lothian and Inverclyde Library Services will also receive a trophy to help commemorate their achievements.

The judging panel, which consisted of SLIC Chair Ian Ruthven, Carnegie UK Trust CEO Sarah Davidson, and Journalist Alan Taylor, were very impressed with the high standards of Award entries. The Award attracted interest from across SLIC’s membership with entries showing a range of outstanding initiatives and an ongoing commitment from library staff in all sectors.

Six library services from across Scotland were shortlisted for the SLIC Award, introduced to celebrate the talent, innovation, and achievement of library teams throughout Scotland. East Lothian Council Library Services, Falkirk Community Trust Libraries, Glasgow Libraries with Business and IP Centre Glasgow, High Life Highland Libraries, Inverclyde Library Service and Shetland Library all demonstrated superb originality and exceptional dedication in meeting the needs of their community during unprecedented times.

Ian added: “What characterised all the nominations, particularly those shortlisted, is the willingness of library teams to find solutions, to put their communities first, and to throw themselves at a challenge.

“So many of the nominations described a range of initiatives and it has been amazing to see how many form the basis of future, enhanced library services.”