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Libraries for All? Libraries, social inequalities and activism in Scotland

Mon 28 August 2017

Public libraries play a crucial role in communities, providing a space for people to meet, work, study, relax, or to do nothing at all. Libraries do more than simply provide access to books; they can also offer employment support, advice for small businesses, language courses, activities for children and families, and information about the wider local community. They support literacy, lifelong learning, employability and support people to make informed choices in their lives. However, while libraries aim to promote social inclusion and be a resource for all members of their communities, there are often tensions and conflicts between the needs of different library users. Challenges such as increasing social inequalities raise important questions as to how libraries can best serve their communities and who is able to make best use these services.

During this interactive workshop, we will ask visitors to consider what libraries mean to them, how they may have benefited from libraries and whether they have ever felt excluded or unable to access their library. This will help us to explore the role of public libraries in different communities, and what they might mean to different groups. We will then be able to examine what an ideal library might look like, and what further activism and advocacy might be required to achieve this in Scotland. Join us for discussion and debate about what you think libraries could and should do to make Scotland a fairer place.