THE Scottish Government has announced new funding to support library services across Scotland.

Culture Minister Neil Gray unveiled the £450,000 funding package, as part of the 2022/23 Public Library Improvement Fund (PLIF), on Wednesday while visiting Rutherglen Library.

Gray’s visit was intended to highlight the impact that the Memories Scotland project has had on the local community.

The Memories Scotland project was launched back in May with the aim of helping Scottish libraries open up their local history collections to the public online and in person.

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The scheme has looked to promote social inclusion within communities while offering a focal point for library memory groups that support people suffering from dementia and other forms of memory loss.

The archive includes a collection of historical images, artefacts, film and audio on the themes of working and social life.

The Culture Minister said: “The network of library-based memory groups across Scotland is a great example of what libraries can achieve with support from the Scottish Government’s Public Library Improvement Fund.

“The Covid pandemic increased the impact of isolation for many individuals within our communities, particularly those living with dementia, and for them these memory groups are a real lifeline.”

The Scottish Library and Information Council (SLIC) will distribute the funding on behalf of the Scottish Government and look to target projects focussing on economic wellbeing, helping people bridge the digital divide, closing the attainment gap and sustainability.

Pamela Tulloch, chief executive of SLIC, said: “The Public Library Improvement Fund supports creative, sustainable and innovative public library projects throughout Scotland. These projects support the vision set out in Forward: Scotland's Public Library Strategy 2021-2025, as well as the Scottish Government’s Net Zero ambitions.

"Focusing on the themes of People, Place & Partnership, the PLIF places significant emphasis on ensuring that the impact of these projects is sustained beyond the one-year period of the funding.

“Leaving behind a valuable legacy of skills, experience, resources and partnerships that will continue to benefit the community for years to come, these projects help to map out an exciting future for Scotland's public libraries and the role they play in communities across Scotland, and we can’t wait to see what ideas the services submit this year.”

The Public Library Improvement Fund 2022 is now open to applications and will close at 12pm on Wednesday, November 2.