Ambition & Opportunity

In 2015 the Scottish Library and Information Council (SLIC) led the development of Scotland’s first ever national strategy for public libraries. Ambition & Opportunity: A Strategy for Public Libraries in Scotland 2015 - 2020 sets out the challenges and opportunities libraries face as well as aims and objectives for the future.

Working in partnership with the Carnegie UK Trust, COSLA and the Scottish Parliament, the strategy has been developed to re-invigorate the role and perception of libraries. It describes how libraries can work towards a sustainable future by delivering 21st century services.

Ambition & Opportunity was created through a combination of independent research, presentations and survey to gather views and visits to public libraries.

Scotland’s vibrant public library network consists of over 600 service points which manage over 40 million visits each year. This makes libraries the most popular civic resource local government offers. The strategy builds upon the strength of this network to plan for the future.

Vision, Mission & Outcome

Ambition & Opportunity sets out the following vision, mission and outcome for Scottish public libraries:

  • Vision: Scotland’s public libraries are trusted guides connecting all of our people to the world’s possibilities and opportunities. 
  • Mission: Scotland’s public libraries are part of a shared civic ambition to fulfil the potential of individuals and communities.
  • Outcome: Every step individuals and communities take towards fulfilling their potential adds to Scotland’s social, economic and cultural wellbeing.
The Strategic Aims

Ambition & Opportunity sets out six strategic aims and eighteen recommendations to deliver these aims. Each aim is clearly linked to national outcomes and indicators outlined in the Scottish Government's National Performance Framework (NPF). SLIC has appointed six different Strategic Leads to manage each individual aim

You can learn more about the creation and current progress of Ambition & Opportunity by reading about the National Strategy Advisory Group.

Strategic Aim Description Strategic Lead
1. Reading, Literacy and Learning Promote education and learning for all, develop a culture of reading for pleasure, offer support for everyone from early years to older people, and enable people to make informed choices. Judy Dobbie, Head of Library and Information Services, Dundee Leisure & Culture.
2. Digital Inclusion Make best use of digital technologies to deliver high quality, efficient and responsive services, enabling access to information and services wherever and whenever citizens want them. Russell Brown, Digital and Support Services Manager, Culture NL.
3. Economic Wellbeing Contribute to Scotland's economic wellbeing, supporting jobseekers, offering courses in digital skills, language courses, and support for small businsses. Andrew Olney, Head of Communities & Libraries, Glasgow Life.
4. Social Wellbeing Contribute to social wellbeing, tackling social isolation, inequality, disadvantage, fractured communities and ill health. Jane Milne, Customer Services Manager, Midlothian Council.
5. Culture and Creativity Promote role as cultural centres, inspiring people through books and literature, music, film and theature, and encourage creativity. Alana Ward, Libraries Museum & Archives Manager, Inverclyde Council.
6. Excellent Public Services Public libraries must be supported to continuously improve their services. Rhona Arthur, Senior Manager (information & Culture), North Ayrshire Council.
Ambition & Opportunity Video 2016