The research examines Scottish Public Libraries and their response to the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020-21 and in particular the way in which they have, through their digital offering, helped to support community resilience and cohesion. The research also explores the issues that library services have had to contend with during lockdown. The methods deployed in this study included the gathering and analysing of social media and other web-based content from library services over the months March-September 2020 (amounting to over four thousands snips of content) and 19 interviews with service managers. Findings are presented in respect of the lessons to be learned from the closure of physical services and the migration to digital only provision, the contribution made to supporting communities, health and wellbeing, the importance of the balance of physical and digital library services, around governance models for library services, and the process of reopening services. Recommendations are offered around the need for a national conversation about digital content provision in public libraries and the exploration of possibilities of a national approach, the role libraries have as digital enablers (in supporting effort to overcome the digital divide in society), the crucial nature of continued strong advocacy for public libraries, the importance of the library as a physical space, and on how to maintain the flexibility, agility and autonomy which emerged during lockdown.

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Reid, P. & Bloice, L. 2021, Libraries in lockdown: Scottish public libraries and their role in community cohesion and resilience during lockdown, Robert Gordon University. Available at: https://rgu-repository.worktribe.com/output/1370057

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Last updated: 03 September 2022
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