Lifeline for libraries

More than £1 million of funding allocated.

Innovative projects to reopen some of the libraries that closed during the pandemic, set up wellbeing cafes or provide home library services have received more than £1 million in funding.

The Scottish Government’s £1.25 million Public Library COVID Relief Fund will support 23 projects around the country to re-connect communities with their libraries.

Applications were made through the Scottish Library and Information Council (SLIC) and allocations will also support reading and STEM education programmes.

While priority was given to applications which support deprived areas and communities, all library services across Scotland were invited to apply for the fund.

Culture Minister Jenny Gilruth said: “These funding allocations will support public libraries across Scotland. Libraries that closed because of the pandemic will re-open and others will be able to widen the services that they offer their local communities.

“Libraries are so much more than a place to borrow books. This fund will see the provision of community-centred projects aimed at, among other things, reducing social isolation, promoting mental wellbeing and reducing the poverty-related attainment gap.

“This funding is part of the Government’s wider aspiration to drive a cultural recovery for our communities. I look forward to seeing how libraries use this support to benefit their local area and to working with the library sector on our future recovery plans”.

Scottish Library and Information Council Chair Ian Ruthven said: “Public libraries are an essential part of Scotland’s social fabric, supporting and inspiring people to fulfil their potential for over 150 years.

“Improving mental wellbeing, tackling social isolation and closing the digital divide are some of the key aims of public libraries. The Public Library COVID Relief Fund will allow local public libraries to reconnect with their communities and offer these much-valued services.”

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