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Patricia Gibson MP has welcomed new research showing that more people in Scotland are using public libraries than ever before. This year, there were over 43 million visits to public libraries in Scotland, including both physical and virtual, a 2.5% increase on the previous year. Commenting, Patricia Gibson said: “Here in North Ayrshire, 93% of residents are satisfied with their library service, compared with 77% in Scotland as a whole, thanks to the hard work of library staff and the quality of the service. Each visit costs an average of £1.62 compared to £2.02 across Scotland, showing that what local people want is being delivered efficiently in North Ayrshire libraries.” The Scottish National Party (SNP) Scottish Government, via the Public Library Improvement Fund, has invested almost £2 million in libraries across Scotland and recently announced that every public library will receive a complete collection of Muriel Spark novels, as part of an initiative announced by the First Minister Patricia Gibson added: “When I was a young girl, my family could not afford books and I loved visiting my local library. Libraries continue to be important to our society, which is why it’s so great to see that more and more people are using them. “Literacy and education are vital in ensuring that every child in Scotland gets the best start in life, and for older people visiting a library can be an excellent way of combatting loneliness and mental health issues. “It’s inspiring to see the work of those library workers and volunteers, who are vital in enabling people to access reading materials and computers, if they don’t have access to these at home.” The SNP Government also announced £450,000 for specific library projects. This includes £45,000 for North Ayrshire to provide a programme of public ‘hackathons’ to explore the council’s open data portal and resources in the context of addressing poverty and increasing equality. ENDS

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