In December 2016 the Scottish Library and Information Council commissioned Blake Stevenson to evaluate the health-related projects funded through the Public Library Improvement Fund (PLIF).

PLIF is a Scottish Government fund which SLIC administers and which funds a range of projects which support health and wellbeing.

To meet these objectives public libraries are encouraged to:
  • Develop effective partnerships at local, regional and national levels with a variety of partners
  • Share best practice on how to create effective and accessible public service or community hubs
  • Build on current practice to become champions of community engagement and involvement
  • Develop guidelines on the appropriate use of volunteers to bring added value to services
The Aim of the Study

The Evaluation of Health-related Projects Report sought to assess which, if any, of the existing project delivery models best support the strategic aims of public libraries in relation to the promotion of social wellbeing. It also analysed which models have the greatest potential to be scaled up or rolled out. A total of ten PLIF projects, dating from July 2014 onwards, were evaluated for the report.

The research was intended to determine:
  • If the project addresses a demonstrable gap in service
  • Whether or not the project demonstrates increased efficiencies and benefits to the library sector
  • If it is evidence based and draws from known good practice
  • Whether or not the model can be scaled up or rolled out
  • If the model can be sustained
  • If the model is flexible and responsive
  • If the model makes best use of resources
  • If the project represents good value for money
  • Whether the model can be transferred partially or in totality to another library authority or area
  • Whether project information can be or is being captured and disseminated in a useful manner
  • Whether the project has increased awareness of the public in relation to the libraries’ role in supporting social wellbeing
Key Findings

The report outlines the findings and gives recommendations for the future.

Key findings covered the following areas.
  • Experiences of the PLIF process
  • To what extent PLIF projects address a demonstrable gap
  • Impact on library users
  • Impact on library staff
  • Impact on project participants and the wider community
  • Value for money
  • Partnership working
  • Key success factors