Supporting new public libraries projects

Funding to connect libraries with local communities.

A group of eight innovative new library projects designed to enrich communities across Scotland will be brought to life through a share of £106,868 support received through the Public Library Improvement Fund (PLIF).

These projects include the introduction of a comprehensive library outreach offer in East Lothian, a digital project focusing on celebrating Dundee’s Maritime Pasts and Future, and High Life Highland’s sensory project, which aims to engage with those with autism and dementia among many others.

Culture Minister Christina McKelvie said:

“The Scottish Government places great importance on public libraries. We believe that everyone should have access to library services. So I’m pleased to announce this first round of projects for the 2023-24 year – eight new programmes that will make a positive difference to local communities across Scotland.

“Congratulations also to Midlothian Library Service, who were awarded the 2023 SLIC Service Excellence Award for its work with supporting communities during the cost-of-living crisis. It is fantastic to see the central role Loanhead Library plays in the everyday lives of local people – bringing the values of the #MidlothianCares initiative to life.

“I understand first-hand the valuable service libraries provide across Scotland – during my childhood, my local library was a real sanctuary for enjoyable learning and it played an important role in my development.”

Pamela Tulloch, Chief Executive of the Scottish Library and Information Council (SLIC), said:

“Public libraries, through their diverse offerings and inclusive nature, contribute to all areas of social, cultural and daily life. They allow people equal access to services, resources and information, and many are continually building on their offering to further transform and thrive in line with the changing demands and requirements of their users.

“Investing in our public libraries is not just about enhancing physical spaces; it's about empowering minds, fostering a love for learning and bridging gaps to ensure equal access for all. The Public Library Improvement Fund (PLIF), from the Scottish Government, allows services across Scotland to enhance their offering to provide further support which benefits the communities in which they operate.

“With people, place and partnership at the heart, we can’t wait to see how the eight projects awarded funding flourish over the next 12 months and would encourage public libraries across Scotland to consider how they can help lead the way in developing our services and apply for the second round of funding today.” 


  • This is the announcement of the first round of recipients of the PLIF Fund with second round opening on 10 January 2024 and closing on 7 February 2024.
  • Culture Minister Christina McKelvie marked this year’s funding award with a visit to Loanhead Library, which has been recognised with a service excellence award for its work and is one of four libraries designated as a Warm and Well Hub in Midlothian.
  • The Scottish Library and Information Council (SLIC) is the independent advisory body to the Scottish Government on library and information related matters. Since 2020-21, Scottish Government have provided funding of £665,000 per year to SLIC as recognition of the importance of our Public Libraries (an increase of £10k on SLIC’s core funding from 2019-20).
  • The Public Library Improvement Fund (PLIF) is an annual £450,000 administered by the Scottish Library and Information Council on behalf of the Scottish Government that sees £200,000 given to support creative, sustainable and innovative public library projects throughout Scotland. The Public Library Improvement Fund (

Project Title/Service

Project Aim

Amount Awarded (of £106, 868)

Carnoustie Creatorspace in Angus

To create a space on the upper floor of Carnoustie Library which is currently used as an Exhibition Space to exhibit work by local artists and creative clubs. This space will focus on the provision of tools, equipment and resources to foster artistic design and creativity.


Dundee's Maritime Pasts and Future in Dundee

This project will be a partnership between the Local History and Steam Hub departments in Dundee Central Library. Volunteers will work with Local History staff to create a digital resource which presents logbooks in their historical context, exploring the whaling industry in Dundee, its environmental impact, and the city’s relationship with nature and the sea over the years.


East Lothian Libraries – Community Centred Service in East Lothian

To establish a dedicated resource for a comprehensive library outreach offer in East Lothian, work with Families Together East Lothian (FTEL), to offer families support with budgeting, parenting, neurodiversity and bereavement. Participation sessions will also be offered to families not using libraries to enhance take up of the ‘Every Child a Library Member’ programme.


Return Journeys: developing pathways back to the library for identified under-reached groups in Falkirk

This project aims to work with partners, and identified groups (traveller community, refugees and asylum seekers and care-experienced individuals) to identify barriers to library use and develop strategies that will enable effective use of services. The project will then develop library services that meet their specific needs of identified groups.


High Life Highland Libraries Making ‘Sense’ for Communities in Highland

High Life Highland’s sensory project aims to engage with and improve the health and wellbeing of hard-to-reach groups including those with autism, dementia, physical impairment, and those who are socially isolated.


Making a Noise in the North: Fair Access to Reading for the Visually Impaired in Orkney/Shetland

This project concentrates on improving the reading experience for users with additional needs, such as visually impaired and dyslexic customers. Also key to the project is promotion of library services and staff development.


Lending Voices: Portable Podcasting in Your Library in South Lanarkshire

This project offers accessible podcasting services in public libraries. This will enable users to create, learn, and engage with podcasts. The project aligns with the library's mission to foster learning, share knowledge, and engage with communities through digital literacy and enriched cultural expression.


Evidencing the social impact of public libraries in Stirling

This project seeks to evidence and better understand the social impact Stirling Council Libraries have within their local communities; and to produce a methodological toolkit from lessons learnt which other public libraries can use to conduct similar evaluations


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