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Pilot gives access to more than 120 libraries – and 1.6 million books.
A pilot for a single card that can be used in any library has been launched in the north east.
Five local authorities are taking part in the scheme, which will be rolled out to the whole of Scotland if successful. The pilot aims to encourage more people to use libraries, by removing barriers between services.
Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop launched the ‘One Card’ pilot at Aberdeen Central Library. The pilot will test how well the card improves access to libraries across Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire, Angus, Highland, and Perth and Kinross. Ms Hyslop was joined by representatives from the five authorities and the Scottish Library and Information Council (SLIC).
The single library card pilot, a Programme for Government commitment, has been supported by £15,000 from the Public Library Improvement Fund (PLIF), a Scottish Government fund administered by SLIC to support creative and innovative library projects.
Ms Hyslop said:
“We place great importance on public libraries and believe everyone should have access to library services. If successful, this pilot will pave the way for a national library card, which will make it easier for people to take advantage of library services wherever they are in Scotland.
“As well as traditional services like book lending, libraries are also places where people can access free wifi, use a computer and socialise. Libraries can empower communities, helping tackle inequality, reduce isolation and boost the local economy.”
Pamela Tulloch, chief executive, SLIC said:
“One of the fundamental defining characteristics of public libraries is that they are open to everyone. No-one is turned away from a library, there is no joining fee, and anyone can use a library and its services, regardless of age and background.
“The One Card pilot will further improve access by removing barriers between services, and will hopefully encouraging more people to take advantage of our public library service.”
- The 120 libraries across the five participating local authorities contain 1.6 million books, more than 600 PCs, free wifi and a regular programme of events for people of all ages
- The One Card pilot will run for six months.
- Previously, members of the public could apply for a visitor’s ticket. One Card will remove this barrier and offer members automatic access with their existing cards to more than 120 libraries across the region
- The Scottish Library and Information Council (SLIC) is the independent advisory body to the Scottish Government on library matters
Supporting comments from participating library services:
Councillor John Wheeler, Aberdeen City Council’s Convener of Education and Children’s Services Committee, said:
“Public library services play a key role in strengthening our communities by offering a positive focus and universal opportunities as centres for learning, innovation and creativity. We are delighted to be involved in the One Card pilot which will explore how libraries can work together across the North of Scotland to provide wider access to free library services for all the communities they serve.”
Councillor Gillian Owen, Aberdeenshire Council Education and Children’s Services Committee chair, said:
“I welcome any initiative which makes it easier for library users in Aberdeenshire. The One Card will allow our customers to borrow, return and renew books, as well as use Wi-Fi, PCs and attend events in libraries in a number of local authorities in North East Scotland in addition to Aberdeenshire simply and easily.”
Fiona Dakers, libraries manager, AngusAlive Libraries said:
“Our ANGUSalive team is looking forward to being part of this pilot initiative that will make accessing our library services simpler for visitors to our beautiful area, as well as helping our own members to access partners’ libraries when it’s more convenient for them.”
Ian Murray, Chief Executive, High Life Highland said:
“High Life Highland is delighted to be participating in the launch of the One Card for libraries. This is an historic occasion and a significant milestone in bringing library services together to better serve our customers. We look forward to working with the Scottish Library and Information Council (SLIC) and with our neighbouring authorities to take this initiative forward and to offering visitors a real Highland welcome.”
Morag Kelly, libraries manager, Culture Perth and Kinross said:
“We’re delighted to be part of the One Library card pilot. This simple but innovative idea will make it easier for keen readers, students or researchers to borrow books whilst on holiday, visiting relatives or travelling with work.”