About the Project

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Meeting with Pamela Tulloch, CEO of SLIC

On Monday we met with Pamela Tulloch, CEO of the Scottish Library and Information Council (SLIC), in Dundee to discuss ideas and possibilities for collaboration.  SLIC is the independent advisory body to the Scottish Government in relation to library and information work.

We were delighted to find out that SLIC is supportive of the project and that there is certainly a role for public libraries in helping refugee families during their integration and adaptation to local communities and beyond.  One of the strategic aims of SLIC is centred on libraries promoting social wellbeing. Ambition & Opportunity: A Strategy for Public Libraries in Scotland 2015-20 highlights public library support for social wellbeing in a number of ways:

  • Responding to the social needs of individuals and groups in their communities and developing activities and programmes to respond to particular needs.
  • Making library space and support available for community interest groups and members of the community looking to support one another.
  • Contributing to the ability of individuals to become involved in their local communities and take part in local and national life.
  •  Strengthening the identity and sense of community.
  • Creating a public service hub for the delivery of a range of public services (SLIC,  2015, p.25).
The full report can be accessed here.

Our meeting revealed that there are a number of ways in which Syrian new Scots families can be supported by public libraries via:

  • the provision of additional English language classes;
  • setting up a community hub with volunteering opportunities for Syrian new Scots;
  • providing health information in accessible pictorial formats;
  • helping the families to develop their digital literacy;
  • offering source material in Arabic (including newspapers and material for children);
  • setting up family sessions and getting the families to engage with the early years programme;
  • creating a friendly, welcoming and trusted 'third place' for families to learn, socialise and feel part of the community.
Additional ideas that were discussed included public libraries establishing a single library card for Syrian new Scots and automatically signing families as members, having an Arabic speaker based in different local public libraries for a set amount of time every week and introducing an induction session and a short film on what public libraries could offer to Syrian new Scots.

We also discussed our idea of designing a Syrian new Scots cookbook to promote the Syrian cultural heritage.

We are extremely grateful for Pamela's innovative ideas and we would like to thank SLIC for all the great suggestions and support.

Here is a video prepared by SLIC that shows the value of public libraries in Scotland. 

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