Back in 2015 as part of the national strategy for public libraries in Scotland SLIC identified an opportunity to support the development of coworking spaces within libraries. A central location and strong ties to the local community means that our public libraries provide the ideal environment to enhance local economic wellbeing by offering space for local entrepreneurs and small businesses to work, meet and collaborate.
There are over 500 libraries in Scotland. They sit, tucked away, in our cities, towns and villages. They have access to Wi-Fi, they’re accessible and they’re central. Libraries have always existed to act as a source of information and provide a space for learning. As the provision of information has changed, and the needs of the population has changed, libraries have evolved. Coding clubs, community group meet-ups, 3D printing facilities and makerspaces are just some of the examples of how libraries are changing with the times. Coworking is next.
Through the Scottish Coworking Network, entrepreneurs, freelancers and start up businesses will be able to join a community of likeminded people, on a local and national scale, through their library service. Members will have access to a quality working environment, a vibrant community and easy access to a wealth of print and digital resources. There will also be organised and community led workshops, events and talks available to support entrepreneurs at all stages to grow and develop.
Libraries have always been the perfect environment for advancing community learning & growing knowledge and this project is just another extension of that.
After the establishment of the initial coworking hubs, the Scottish Library and Information Council will develop a blueprint to expand the network into other library services across Scotland. So if you don't have a coworking hub in a library near you yet, keep your eyes peeled, as one could be coming soon!