Home   News   Pioneering 'Lend and Mend Hub' launches in Kilbirnie library

Pioneering 'Lend and Mend Hub' launches in Kilbirnie library

Posted on 26 Sep 2023

A new dedicated facility in Kilbirnie Library, which allows free access to equipment to repair, reuse, and upcycle everyday items, officially opened on Friday, September 22.

As part of a trailblazing project funded by the John Lewis Circular Future Fund, public libraries in key areas across the country will lead the way in developing a long-term model for circular economy activities, while helping to tackle the cost-of-living crisis.

Nine library partners across Scotland have been selected to host a ‘Lend and Mend Hub’ as part of the pilot project managed by the Scottish Library and Information Council (SLIC).  

Scottish Government Culture Minister Christina McKelvie said: “Our libraries are at the heart of our communities and the first of the pilot ‘Lend and Mend Hubs’ will further enhance the services they provide locally.

“Giving people free access to repair or recycle everyday items reflects the Scottish Government’s commitment to sustainability and will be an invaluable resource in the current cost of living crisis.”

Selected for their wide geographical spread and diverse community reach, the partner libraries listed below will make up a ‘network’ of sustainable, circular hubs situated across Scotland:

  • A K Bell Library, Perth
  • Aberdeen Central Library, Aberdeen
  • Forfar Library, Angus
  • Girvan Library, South Ayrshire
  • Gorebridge Library, Midlothian
  • Kilbirnie Library, North Ayrshire
  • Orkney Library & Archive, Orkney
  • South West Library, Inverclyde
  • Wester Hailes Library, Edinburgh

Councillor Alan Hill, Cabinet Member for Communities and Islands commented: “It is a tremendous honour for North Ayrshire Libraries to be involved in the Lend and Mend Hub pilot.

“Library staff at Kilbirnie Library are looking forward to getting involved to do their part to tackle the climate emergency, reduce waste and provide a chance for residents to make connections and cut costs during the Cost-of-Living crisis.

“The first workshop on Friday 22 September at Kilbirnie Library’s Make and Mend Hub was a sewing workshop with local social enterprise, Creative Recycling Ltd. Here, the team shared their expertise to teach library members attending some basic sewing machine skills to make some upcycled products out of clothes, bedding and other textiles that would have otherwise gone straight to landfill.

“If you would be interested in taking part in future sessions, please call 01505 684218 to register as places are limited.”

Stay tuned to North Ayrshire Libraries Facebook page @NorthAyrshireLibraries for more updates on the pilot.”

North Ayrshire Council is committed to achieving net-zero carbon status by 2030. This pilot will contribute to the Council’s overall Environmental Sustainability & Climate Change Strategy – more information on what the Council is doing to cut carbon can be found here: Environmental Sustainability & Climate Change Strategy (north-ayrshire.gov.uk)

Taking a co-design approach, the hubs have been developed with insight and expertise from local teams and library members to ensure services are tailored to community needs.  Funding granted from The John Lewis Partnership’s £1m Circular Future Fund has been used for the equipment, training and space upgrades needed to deliver these promising projects.

Following their launch, each library hub will also introduce an education programme to support new skills development, helping to reduce inequality through equitable access to resources. The first focus will be on ‘mending’, with a series of sewing workshops and repair cafes already underway at some locations.

Pamela Tulloch, chief executive of SLIC, said: “It’s great to see our ‘Lend and Mend Hubs’ take shape in what is an exciting chapter for our libraries.  Building on their current offering, our services are transforming and thriving in line with community needs, giving people access to resources they might not otherwise have to support responsible consumption and learning, locally and free. 

“And at a time when all of Scotland’s communities are experiencing economic and environmental challenges, the role of public libraries has never been more important.

“The introduction of this network has the potential to create a real impact.  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.

“We hope this pilot will help develop a long-term model for libraries to be a hub of circular economy activities, while also providing valuable learnings to promote the urgent need to adopt a more circular way of living more widely for the long-term benefit of us all.”

To find out more, visit ScottishLibraries.org and follow the development at Facebook.com/LendandMend.