CILIPS Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals in Scotland
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Creating Space for Kindness: Take part in building on the strengths of public libraries in Scotland

Category: Blog, News

This is a guest blog written by Jenny Peachey, Senior Policy and Development Officer, and Ben Thurman, Policy and Development Officer, from the Carnegie UK Trust.

Data from the Carnegie UK Trust reveals that a staggeringly high proportion of people – 93% – agree that they are treated with kindness in public libraries in Scotland. This is a remarkable result which the sector should take great pride in. With loneliness and isolation occupying important places on the policy agenda, it is clear that public libraries offer people a safe and welcoming space – and have a hugely significant role to play. 

However, even in Scotland’s libraries there remains more that can be done – because while almost everyone regards libraries as kind, the positive score that they receive drops significantly to 56% when it comes to the proportion of those who strongly agree with this view.

We know from our earlier work on kindness that places, opportunities, and values encourage kindness. Welcoming places that are free to use, free from agenda, offer warm hospitality and have kind people in them enable kindness. Likewise, opportunities for connections, making an effort to connect and act in kindness, and giving permission to oneself and to others to be kind are important in facilitating kindness. 

The Carnegie UK Trust is keen to explore whether there is a way to build on Scotland’s public libraries’ strengths – as trusted, safe spaces – to develop kinder communities. We are inviting library staff across Scotland to take part in a network of Champions for Libraries and Kindness. To develop ideas about what they could do, to test these out in their workplaces and more broadly to be part of a conversation about kindness in libraries.

To support library staff, we will provide time and space at a workshop on 31st March at our office in Dunfermline to share our experience on what works from several years of kindness innovation and time and support to develop ideas that might further enhance the contribution of public libraries in supporting kinder communities. We will also make available a small amount of money to cover the costs of materials needed for practical activities to be carried out over 2020. We will host a second workshop in late October around knowledge sharing and next steps.

To find out more please read our short leaflet and to participate please fill out the expression of interest form. If you have any queries after reading the information please get in touch with Ben and Jenny at creatingspace@carnegieuk.org  We look forward to hearing from you!

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