The Scottish Coworking Network (SCN) aims to create a national network of business hubs in underused spaces in Scotland’s public libraries, encouraging start-ups and digital innovation. Coworking allows entrepreneurs and small businesses to work, meet and collaborate in a shared space. Members can access desk space, online resources, and a programme of professional development workshops and events.
The first national network of its kind, The Scottish Coworking Network is funded by the Scottish Government and delivered by the Scottish Library and Information Council (SLIC). Members will be able to use any of the hubs within the network.
The objectives are to:
• Create accessible spaces in communities where entrepreneurs and businesses are supported to work, meet and collaborate.
• Offer a programme of events and activities that will support business development and encourage networking.
• Develop a framework for introducing coworking spaces that can be used by other library services to expand the network in the future.
Through the coworking project, underused spaces in libraries will be refurbished with investment from SLIC to provide modern, well-equipped working areas. Once established, those working in the hubs will use other library services and, hopefully, encourage colleagues, friends and family to visit the library. The library will receive an annual grant from SLIC, based on the number of hub users, for use at the library’s discretion.
Scotland’s public libraries offer the perfect environment for coworking hubs. Libraries are located at the heart of communities, they are well-connected, offer a wealth of information and resources and are open and accessible to everyone. By offering support with a focus on those who are new to business or face barriers to enterprise, the project demonstrates the changing role of public libraries.
Public libraries in Scotland have an impressive track record for embracing innovation and technology to inspire creativity. All library services in Scotland offer free Wi-Fi, 3D printers and many have introduced makerspaces to support enterprise and creativity.
The Library Coworking Hubs project was made possible through funding from Connectivity, Economy and Participation division of the Scottish Government. We are supported by Scottish Enterprise, Scottish Towns Partnership, Creative Scotland, Carnegie Trust, Young Enterprise Scotland, Business Gateway, the Federation of Small Businesses and the Scottish Institute of Enterprise. If you wish to be involved in the project as a partner, or want to know more about the project, please don't hesitate to get in touch.