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Library projects to receive share of £200k Scottish Government funding

Culture Minister Neil Gray announced £200k funding for library projects <i>(Image: Newsquest)</i>
Culture Minister Neil Gray announced £200k funding for library projects (Image: Newsquest)

Eight public libraries across Scotland are to share in a £200,000 funding package, revealed by Culture Minister Neil Gray.

As part of the Public Library Improvement Fund (PLIF) the projects will be helped after their innovation in libraries was recognised.

Mr Gray made the announcement during a visit to Danderhall Library in Edinburgh, when he highlighted the role libraries play in closing the attainment gap, reducing social exclusion and promoting equality of opportunity and reading.

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The Scottish Library and Information Council (SLIC), which distributes funding on behalf of the Scottish Government, selected eight initiatives to receive grants, supporting sustainable development and innovation within Scotland’s public libraries.

Culture Minister Neil Gray said: “Public libraries are at the heart of our communities and this year’s awards will go towards a range of projects to further enhance the services they provide.

“I’m also pleased to see that many of the eight projects receiving a share of the £200,000 from the Scottish Government funded Public Libraries Improvement Fund will be delivering their programmes in partnership with other organisations.”

Mr Gray joined children from Danderhall Primary School for a storytelling session and spoke about Every Child a Library Member - a new drive to encourage parents across Scotland to introduce children to reading and library use from an early age, while highlighting some of the initiatives underway at public libraries across Scotland.

HeraldScotland: Culture Minister Neil Gray made £200,000 library funds announcement
HeraldScotland: Culture Minister Neil Gray made £200,000 library funds announcement

Culture Minister Neil Gray made £200,000 library funds announcement (Image: Scottish Government)

While welcome, the funding comes at a time when some councils are looking at potential cuts to library services as they try to reduce budget deficits.

Applications for this round of funding focused on ‘People, Place and Partnership’, including an additional support needs training programme in Aberdeen and the creation of ‘Live Well Health’ information hubs across Glasgow.

Other initiatives awarded grants aim to combat social isolation, bridge the digital divide, help close the attainment gap and mitigate the impact of the cost-of-living crisis.

HeraldScotland: Families are being encouraged to use their libraries
HeraldScotland: Families are being encouraged to use their libraries

Families are being encouraged to use their libraries (Image: Scottish Government)

They are Aberdeen City: Building Bridges, Overcoming Barriers; Angus: Using the Mobile Library to Grow Community Library Services; East Ayrshire: On the Road to Digital Success; Glasgow: Live Well Health Information Hubs; Glasgow: Connect, Engage, Retain; Moray: Digi Bytes and Takeaways; North Ayrshire: Off the Page, and Orkney: Sensory Exploration.

As part of the ‘Live Well Health Information Hubs’ project, five existing Macmillan Hubs in Glasgow Life libraries will be developed into wider ‘Live Well Health Information Hubs’, with up to a further four new hubs being established across Glasgow after receiving £62,500. As part of the rebrand and expansion, more volunteers will be welcomed into the service, staff will be upskilled, and service levels monitored to ensure the needs of Glasgow’s citizens are met.

The ’Connect, Engage, Retain’ project received almost £50,000 which will help families connect with core library services and support early years interventions to close the attainment gap and help to mitigate the cost-of-living impact on households in order to improve social mobility within literacy hotspot areas in the longer-term.

Read more: Budget cuts: Fears the axe could fall on Scots library services

Pamela Tulloch, chief executive of SLIC, said: “The Public Library Improvement Fund allows services across Scotland to enhance their offering to provide support which benefits the communities they operate in most.

“It allows libraries to lead the way in enriching the sector’s offering and with people, place and partnership at the heart of this innovation, the advantages of library use for people of all ages has never been more clear. And that’s why we’re supporting library use from as early an age as possible with ECALM.”

ECALM looks at library membership at key stages throughout early childhood - birth registration, nursery, and primary school enrolment - to support improved language, literacy and social skills while ensuring that every child in Scotland has access to the valuable learning resources available in public libraries.

Sean McNamara, head of Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals in Scotland (CILIP) in Scotland, said: “We are delighted to see this funding for various library projects all across Scotland, the money supplied through the improvement fund helps libraries do incredible work and we welcome the additional government support for the sector.

“This funding will have most impact if it is alongside a core funding model that ensures that libraries all across Scotland stay open when people need them, with skilled and trained staff and good resource budgets. We encourage local and national government to work together and ensure this happens."