Midlothian Libraries and North Ayrshire Libraries have both been recognised for their outstanding contributions to their local communities at the 2023 SLIC Awards. The two library services picked up the top awards at the SLIC Showcase and AGM on Friday 3rd November at the University Strathclyde Technology and Innovation Centre.

Midlothian Libraries won the SLIC Library Service Excellence Award for their activities which put communities at the heart of their service. Midlothian Libraries' entry described how they have risen to the challenges of a rapidly changing local community, creating a series of events and services that respond to the needs of this community, particularly in response to the Cost-of-Living crisis. The judges commended Midlothian for these activities and the joined-up thinking they represent. They also saw a great range of cultural events, rewarded by significant increases in visits to the library and book issues.

SLIC Award winnter 2023

The SLIC Awards 2023 Winners

North Ayrshire Libraries won the SLIC Project Excellence Award for their brave, empathetic, and visionary work in supporting those recovering from problematic alcohol and drug use. Their bold project, co-designed with addiction specialists, repurposed library spaces, upskilled and trained library staff, and promoted library services to new customers. The judges were particularly impressed by the care and attention provided to both library staff and clients in creating this project which has encouraged those taking part, and their families, to engage with the wider library services. A very commendable, challenging, and pioneering project.

Inverclyde Libraries was Highly Commended in the Library Service Excellence Award category for their efforts in the area Health and Wellbeing. A strong consultation and engagement process led to a highly impressive and comprehensive set of partnerships and libraries services, ones that deliver across six key strategic aims. Inverclyde delivered an aspirational and ambitious programme for the whole of the Inverclyde community.

East Lothian Council Library Services was Highly Commended in the Project Excellence categoryn for their focus on libraries as health and well-being hubs. The judges were highly impressed with the range and depth of the activity achieved by East Lothian, ranging from a strategic restructuring of support provided to staff to specialist book collections for carers. A major project, led by a dedicated Health and Wellbeing Development Officer, that has led to very remarkable set of health and well-being activities for the people of East Lothian.

Outstanding initiatives

The Awards recognise the commitment, creativity and value libraries across Scotland offer the people and communities they serve, acknowledging exceptional innovation and service design between the period from June 2022 to June 2023.Every SLIC member can enter, with the winners receiving a trophy and cash prizes for their success.

The 2023 Judging panel included SLIC Chair Ian Ruthven, Marion Sinclair, CEO of Publishing Scotland and Marc Lambert Chief Executive of the Scottish Book Trust. This year's entries showcased a range of outstanding initiatives and ongoing commitment from library staff in all sectors.

Click below to view the full 2023 nominees list.  

The SLIC Project Excellence Award 2023 Shortlist

East Lothian Council Library Services was shortlisted for their Community Health and Wellbeing Hubs. An audit of health and well-being resources, initially focussed on staff wellbeing, was pivoted into a major mapping of local information which then informed and inspired new projects to progress the health and wellbeing support within their local community. The project included a significant and impressive amount of activity, with a long list of partners, which has delivered an incredible result for the East Lothian community.

North Ayrshire Libraries was shortlisted for their pioneering work in supporting those recovering from problematic alcohol and drug use. This was a bold project, co-designed with addiction specialists, to repurpose library spaces, upskill and train library staff and promote library services to new customers. It provides a safe, supported, non-clinical environment at the heart of the community for service users and their families who now benefit from the wide range of library services.  North Ayrshire have taken on a complex challenge but delivered a thoughtful and person-centred service.

Orkney Library and Archive was shortlisted for their project, ‘Digital and Sensory Experiences For All’. This project shows how sympathetic and imaginative use of technology can bring benefits to everyone within a local library community. VR, bubble tubes, wall projectors, light tubes and tactile toys have been deployed to provide engaging and meaningful experiences for specific groups, such as those with early onset dementia and young carers, and have also been opened to the whole community, providing a unique range of experiences for library users. It is difficult to imagine any other type of organisation being able to provide the outcomes delivered by ‘Digital and Sensory Experiences For All’.

West Dunbartonshire Libraries was shortlisted for their ‘New Pathways’ project. This project utilised workshops led by professional creative artists to help young people who were disengaged or at risk of being disengaged from formal education to reconnect with learning and thereby improve their life chances. This is a sensitively created project with a strong vision and an inspiring account of the ways that libraries can change young lives. ‘New Pathways’ has offered hope, provided confidence and opened new vistas.

The SLIC Library Service Excellence Award 2023 Shortlist

East Lothian Council Library Services was shortlisted for their activities on the theme of ‘At the Heart of our Communities’. Their entry was exemplary in demonstrating the value of a clear strategy in developing an excellent service. Management restructuring, policy development, system renewal, and strong commitments to staffing continuity and horizon scanning have been the bedrock for an impressive and imaginative range of partnerships, events and outreach. East Lothian Council Library Services continue to deliver at the highest level.

Inverclyde Libraries was shortlisted for the efforts in ‘Collective Focus on Health and Wellbeing for Service Excellence’. A strong strategic approach has delivered a co-designed health and wellbeing service with a strong focus on self-management and preventing ill-health. There were an incredible range of activities for all ages based around space, social events, literacy, training, and an enviable range of partners. Inverclyde Libraries is a library service working at full throttle to identity and support the needs of their local communities.

Midlothian Libraries was shortlisted for their activities to put ‘Communities at the Heart’ of their service. Their entry describes a robust response to the cost-of-living crisis including exceptional partnership working to support access to financial information and careers advice. We also heard of an impressive series of events and meaningful connections with local partners. All this activity has been rewarded with significant increases in visits to the library and book issues - a heartful and community-focused library service.