£1.25 million funding for vital community resource.
A new fund worth more than £1 million that will help libraries re-open is being launched by the Scottish Government.
The Public Libraries COVID Recovery Fund will allow libraries to re-connect with their communities as part of Scotland’s recovery from the pandemic.
The fund, which will be distributed through the Scottish Library and Information Council (SLIC), will support libraries in re-opening or extending their opening hours, as well as fund targeted plans for issues such as digital exclusion or mental health and wellbeing.
While priority will be given to applications which support deprived areas and communities, all library services across Scotland are invited to apply for the fund, which is a commitment made in the new Programme for Government.
Culture Minister Jenny Gilruth said:
“We hope that through this new fund the power of libraries to inform, educate, entertain and inspire can be unlocked again as part of the recovery from the COVID pandemic.
“We are aware that while many have returned, Scotland’s library services are currently operating below their pre-pandemic levels.
“The reasons for these closures are varied, complex and sometimes challenging – however we want to see as many libraries re-open as possible, and this fund will help the public library sector bounce back from a challenging time.”
Scottish Library and Information Council chair Ian Ruthven said:
“The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have highlighted the vital role public libraries play in communities across Scotland.
“Libraries are at the centre of the collective endeavour to improve literacy, close the attainment gap, promote health, champion wellbeing, pioneer sustainability, reduce inequality, and close the digital divide.
“SLIC is pleased to be working with the Scottish Government to administer the Public Library Covid Relief Fund which will support the public library sector to extend access to these vital services, and prioritise wellbeing as communities continue to rebuild and recover.”
The commitment is in the Programme for Government document available to read on the Scottish Government website