Scottish Public Libraries and their role in community cohesion and resilience during lockdown

  • Funded by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI)
  • Total publications:0 publications

Grant number: AH/V006940/1

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Key facts

  • Disease

  • Start & end year

  • Known Financial Commitments (USD)

  • Funder

    UK Research and Innovation (UKRI)
  • Principle Investigator

  • Research Location

    United Kingdom, Europe
  • Lead Research Institution

    Robert Gordon University
  • Research Category

    Secondary impacts of disease, response & control measures

  • Research Subcategory

    Social impacts

  • Special Interest Tags


  • Study Subject


  • Clinical Trial Details


  • Broad Policy Alignment


  • Age Group

    Not Applicable

  • Vulnerable Population

    Not applicable

  • Occupations of Interest



In 'normal' times public libraries are crucial community hubs but have, like other public spaces, been closed during the pandemic lockdown. In recent years, public libraries in Scotland have been strongly supported through Scottish Government initiatives (e.g. Public Library Improvement Fund) or through a national strategy for their enhancement (Ambition and Opportunity 2015-20) and are seen as highly trusted public spaces. They play a major role in supporting disadvantaged or socially-excluded members of the community (e.g. through supporting online benefit claims), aiding wellbeing (e.g. Macmillan Cancer centres) and developing literacy (e.g. Bookbug), supporting economic growth (e.g. co-working hubs). The lockdown means they have been compelled to adapt their offerings significantly and, often, creatively. Many have reported surges in the borrowing of e-books(e.g. Aberdeen), they have developed online book clubs (Glasgow et al), 3D printers creating PPE, or online storytelling sessions (Shetland). This research will examine how they have responded to the lockdown, reimagined services and explore the impact on both the services themselves and the end users. It will also seek to understand the difficulties such as those members of the community for whom online access is problematic or even impossible if unable to visit the library physically. The disparity in service provision (between those services in cultural or leisure trusts which have furloughed employees and those remaining in direct local authority control) will also be explored as in the context of the provision of statutory universal service. The research will inform policy and understanding of service governance and resilience