Ayrshire libraries awarded grant to boost innovation across vital services

Innovative public library projects will be brought to life through the Public Library Improvement Fund
Innovative public library projects will be brought to life through the Public Library Improvement Fund -Credit:Alan Richardson

North and South Ayrshire Libraries have been awarded funding as part of the 2023/24 Public Library Improvement Fund (PLIF).

Highlighting the role libraries play in closing the attainment gap, combating social isolation and bridging the digital divide, this second round of 2023/24 PLIF funding will see projects enrich the communities they operate in – with a commitment to creating long-term impact.

North Ayrshire Libraries have been awarded £11,100 to support the rebranding of six of its mainland and island libraries.

In partnership with Ayrshire College, North Ayrshire Libraries’ 'Study Sp@ces' project will support and encourage young people to excel in their education by offering safe study spaces in their local library. The project will see six of North Ayrshire's mainland and island libraries rebranded and promoted as inspiring study spaces, outside of the school and college environment.

South Ayrshire Libraries have been awarded £8,035 to support a new digital inclusion project 'Stay Connected: Bridging the Digital Divide for Inclusive Communities'.

The project aims to empower individuals with essential digital skills. Focusing on those who experience socio-economic disadvantage, the project will take a tailored approach to support South Ayrshire’s communities, partnering with local services and experts.

The Scottish Library and Information Council (SLIC), which distributes funding on behalf of the Scottish Government, selected five initiatives across the country to receive grants from the second round of 2023/24 PLIF, including North Ayrshire’s 'Study Sp@ces' and South Ayrshire’s 'Stay Connected', supporting sustainable development and innovation within Scotland’s public libraries.

Other initiatives awarded a share of the £100,000 available include Culture Perth and Kinross with their 'Sustainable Communities' project, Midlothian Council received funding for 'Library Natter Corner' and Moray Council for 'Business Matters @ Elgin Library'.

Culture Minister Kaukab Stewart said: "Libraries are at the heart of Scotland’s communities and it is fantastic to see projects brought to life through PLIF funding, making a positive difference to people across the country.

“These projects exemplify the transformative power of libraries, from introducing digital inclusiveness to teaching about economic wellbeing, and can help improve people’s lives in the communities they serve.

“Through the £100,000 provided for this second round of PLIF, we're not just funding projects; we're investing in the long-term wellbeing of our communities and I’m looking forward to seeing more life-changing programmes like these in the future.”

Pamela Tulloch, chief executive of SLIC, said: "Contributing to all areas of social, cultural and political life, libraries allow people equal access to services, resources and information - and many are building on their offering to further transform and thrive in line with community needs.

"The PLIF allows us to support those leading the way in mapping out a positive and inspiring future for our public libraries in Scotland with creative, sustainable and innovative projects. Projects which enhance the service and which leave behind a legacy of skills, experience, resources and partnerships that will continue to benefit the community far beyond the one-year period of the funding."

The first round of recipients awarded funding as part of the 2023/24 Public Library Improvement Fund (PLIF) was announced in November, with this second round of funding bringing the total support for Scottish services for the 2023/24 period to over £200,000.

For more information on the PLIF visit here.

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