Culture Perth and Kinross Library selected for pioneering ‘Lend and Mend Hub’ project

  • Published: December 2nd 2022
Culture Perth & Kinross -

The AK Bell Library in Perth has been selected as one of the first in Scotland to host a ‘Lend and Mend Hub’ as part of a trailblazing pilot project managed by the Scottish Library and Information Council (SLIC).

Building on its current offering, the AK Bell Library will introduce a ‘Lend and Mend Hub’, funded by The John Lewis Partnership’s £1m Circular Future Fund, which will help the local community to repair, reuse, rent and upcycle everyday items, with free access for everyone to keep items in use for longer, rather than them being thrown away.

Public libraries in Aberdeen, Inverclyde, Midlothian and South Ayrshire have also been selected to make up a ‘network’ of sustainable, circular hubs across Scotland due to their wide geographical spread and diverse community reach.

Earlier this year, SLIC’s pioneering ‘Lend and Mend Hubs’ proposition was announced as one of just four UK projects selected to receive funding from the John Lewis Partnership’s Circular Future Fund.

Having selected five public library partners, SLIC will use the fund for the equipment, training and space upgrades needed to deliver these promising projects. It is expected SLIC will also support a further three public library, ‘Lend and Mend Hubs’, as part of this pilot scheme.

Pamela Tulloch, chief executive of SLIC, said: “Receiving over 40 million visits every year, the Scottish public are familiar with borrowing from libraries but don’t always have the opportunity to extend this circular thinking to other aspects of their lives, for example how they use household goods and clothing.

“And at a time when all of Scotland’s communities are experiencing economic and environmental challenges, the introduction of this network will build on the important role our public libraries provide, giving people access to resources they might not otherwise have to support responsible consumption and learning, locally and free. 

“With the first phase of library partners selected, we can’t wait to see these local library services transform and thrive for the long-term benefit of us all.”

The projects, led by SLIC, will follow a co-design approach with service teams bringing local knowledge and expertise to the delivery to ensure each hub is tailored to community needs. Upon completion, each hub will also introduce an education programme to support new skills development, helping to reduce inequality through equitable access to resources.

Ashleigh Hibbins, Head of Audiences and Learning at Culture Perth and Kinross, said, “We are delighted to have been awarded this unique opportunity from SLIC and John Lewis, which will add an exciting and much-needed repair skill and tool hub for our communities in Perth and Kinross. Libraries have always embodied the values of reusing, sharing, and learning; this new Lend and Mend facility in AK Bell Library will simply be the latest chapter in a long and proud history of sustainability and supporting local people.”

Pamela added: “These inspirational public libraries have the potential to create a real impact and will provide valuable learnings in promoting the urgent need to adopt a more circular way of living. We hope this pilot will help develop a long-term model for libraries to be a hub of circular economy activities.

The AK Bell Library is expected to open its ‘Lend and Mend Hub’ for public use in Spring 2023.

Details of the ‘Lend and Mend hubs’ can be found on the SLIC website.

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