National Library of Scotland Draft 2020–2025 Strategy

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Closes 27 Jan 2020

What the National Library will look like in 2025

In 2015 the National Library of Scotland launched The Way Forward: Library Strategy, 2015-20 as the first of two five-year strategies to take the Library to its centenary in 2025. This is the second strategy which concludes in the year the Library celebrates its hundredth anniversary.

The first five years focussed on building infrastructure, capacity and resilience, while growing partnerships, reputation and income. The second period will concentrate on providing and broadcasting information, knowledge and offering experiences to a diverse audience in Scotland and across the globe.

Work has already begun on the potential redevelopment of the main Library building on George IV Bridge. A programme of preservation and digitisation of moving image and sound will save from disintegration the most fragile formats in the country. A project to preserve, digitise and make available to the nation Scotland’s newspaper heritage will be progressed.

By 2025, the National Library will be a familiar and valued institution across Scotland, recognised for its outstanding collections and services. It will be known as a Library with responsive and relevant services, simple to find and easy to use at the click of a button, the tap of a screen, or by simply walking into one of our buildings. We will also continue to explore opportunities to have a permanent physical presence outside Scotland’s central belt.

Many of our visitors will be regulars, taking the opportunity to enhance their knowledge of family, community, hobbies or current issues such as climate change. Those studying towards qualifications, pursuing professional development or researching a business idea, will find tailored resources to satisfy their needs. Young people and families will find the Library a welcoming place, with a growing programme of events designed for them.

The National Library’s collections will be more comprehensive, and more representative of the whole nation. Our collecting will be guided by our role as the guardian of the published and recorded memory of Scotland. Our web archiving and electronic collecting activities across the nation will be deeper, wider and more fully representative. We will address the silences in our collections to ensure that a richer variety of voices, views and experiences are collected and curated.

The Library’s digital scholarship services will be amongst the best in Europe, delivered through the Data Foundry – a dynamic destination where our data can be downloaded, reused, replayed and hosted.

By 2025, we will be a Library that will be able to offer a personalised experience to every citizen in Scotland.

1. We are the guardian of the published and recorded memory of Scotland for current and future generations.

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1.1  We will collect, preserve and make available diverse materials that represent the lives and memories of Scotland’s people, and which contribute to world knowledge.

1.2  We will work with partners to take coordinated action to secure the nation’s fragile moving image, sound and newspaper collections.

1.3  We will preserve and make available the online memory of Scotland through our web archiving activities, placing the nation at the forefront of open content archiving.

1.4  We will work to address the silences in the collections to ensure a richer variety of voices, views and experiences are collected and curated.

Do you believe the objectives outlined within this strategic priority will ensure the safeguarding of collections?

2. We make it easier for people to access the collections.

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2.1  People will find it easier to discover the Library’s special and hidden collections through our programme of online listing, cataloguing and discovery work.

2.2  People will have access to more than 10 million of the Library’s items in digital format as we complete our ‘One Third Digital’ initiative.

2.3  People will find the process of registering for Library services to be simple and seamless, opening up a personalised world of knowledge, learning and entertainment.

2.4  We will work with community partners to better understand and address how we can best support people to access our collections and services.

In your opinion, will our plans within this strategic priority help us to improve access for all?

3. We put people at the heart of everything we do, offering a rich variety of ways for people to participate and engage with their heritage.

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3.1  We will embed an audience-centred, user-led approach to the development and delivery of our information services and cultural experiences.

3.2  We will deliver world-class digital engagement, based on high quality underlying systems and principles such as the Digital First Service Standard, in order to deliver rich online and digital experiences, encouraging people to use the collections in the most creative ways possible.

3.3  We will transform our public spaces into inspiring and welcoming destinations for discovery, entertainment, lifelong learning and research, employing the latest technologies and our world-class staff to support everyone's needs. 

3.4  We will engage with communities throughout Scotland encouraging co-production with the collections – through touring exhibitions, targeted learning and outreach, and innovative online content.

3.5  We will create new programmes and services to reach wider and more diverse audiences and to help support communities around Scotland to thrive.

In your opinion, will our plans within this strategic priority help us to retain existing audiences and engage new ones?

4. We encourage and support learning, research and discovery.

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4.1  We will support the contribution of new knowledge to the world by developing research collaborations and research fellowships across the humanities, science and business.

4.2  We will encourage investigations of the collections from different angles and perspectives, uncovering untold stories and giving people fresh perspectives on society and culture.

4.3  We will develop our digital scholarship service and present the collections as data, opening up new possibilities for research, learning, viewing and entertainment.

4.4  We will provide people with supported pathways to learning through our collections in support of the Curriculum for Excellence, lifelong learning, creative practice and continuous professional development.

4.5  We will provide a safe and trusted environment for informal learning and activity that promotes wellbeing for all ages. 

In your opinion, will our plans within this strategic priority meet our goals to support learning and research?

5. We aim to be a great organisation to work for and with, developing new ways of working, delivering and partnering.

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5.1  People – We will train and develop our staff and recruit new talent to enhance our existing skills and knowledge.

5.2  Sustainability – We will embed sustainability across all areas of our operations.

5.3  Estates – We will ensure our property assets are maintained and improved and collections are held securely in appropriate environments by implementing our Property Asset Management Plan.

5.4  Data - We will use data to help the Library optimise its business processes, better understand audiences and reach new audiences.

5.5  Finance – We will derive ‘best value’ from our current core income sources, develop diverse income streams and clearly communicate the value of the Library to external funders in order to attract additional resources.

5.6  Partnerships – We will grow our partnership activity both nationally and internationally with the aim of learning new ways of working, reaching new users and supporting Scotland's vibrant cultural sector, focusing on libraries and archives.

In your opinion, are we taking the organisation in the right direction?

6. Mission, vision and how we work.

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Mission: To make a significant and lasting contribution to global knowledge and the memory of the world. 

Vision: To be recognised as one of the leading national libraries in Europe by using our collections and spaces to generate opportunities for learning and research while improving understanding and participation in Scotland’s rich cultural life. 

How we work:

The National Library of Scotland is a place for inspiration, exploration, and enjoyment for all. Our staff act with dignity and respect and feel proud to belong to the Library.

These are our guiding principles:

We commit to openness and transparency in all areas of business, working proactively to make assets (such as digital collections, metadata, source code, and datasets), free, open and reusable wherever possible.

We offer accurate and reliable information to support debate and discussion.

We are responsive as we build collections for current and future generations. We challenge ourselves, our assumptions and our policies in order to create a more inclusive collection and a more diverse audience.

We work collaboratively to improve our services and to extend the benefits we offer to all.

We believe in the power of the collections to transform lives through learning, research, discovery and improved wellbeing. We actively support participation in culture and heritage for everyone.

Do you agree with our approach to our work?

7. Prioritisation

Which strategic priorities are most important to you? Please number accordingly, with 1 being the most important, and 5 being the least important.

8. General comments