BOOKS: Cash lifeline for libraries

By Bill Heaney
Innovative projects to reopen some of the libraries that closed during the pandemic, set up well-being cafes or provide home library services have received more than £1 million in funding
A targeted programme of learning and wellbeing events for children and young people and their families living in the three most deprived communities in West Dunbartonshire, which are to receive just £40,000.

Activities will focus on literacy, numeracy, art and STEM subjects to encourage a reconnection with learning and will be provided in partnership with external subject experts and internal West Dunbartonshire Council colleagues.

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, pictured top of page,  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 well-being 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 fulfill their potential for over 150 years.

“Improving mental well-being, 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.”

The Public Library COVID Relief Fund was announced as part of the Programme for Government and all local authority library services were able to apply for funding.

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