A Garnock Valley library has been selected as one of the first in Scotland to host a ‘Lend and Mend Hub’, as part of a trailblazing pilot project helping to tackle the cost-of-living crisis.

Managed by the Scottish Library and Information Council (SLIC), Kilbirnie Library will build on its current offering to introduce the facility, giving the community free access to repair, reuse, rent and upcycle everyday items, to help keep items in use for longer, rather than them being thrown away.

Funded by The John Lewis Partnership’s £1 million Circular Future Fund, the North Ayrshire library will join eight other services across Scotland in developing the country’s first circular community hubs, forming a ‘network’ of sustainable ‘Lend and Mend Hubs’.

The other libraries that will be part of the initiative are: Aberdeen Central Library, Wester Hailes Library, Edinburgh, Forfar Library, Forfar, South West Library, Inverclyde, Gorebridge Library, Midlothian, Orkney Library & Archive, A K Bell Library, Perth, and Girvan Library, South Ayrshire.

Five of the services selected to take part in the pilot scheme were announced late last year, and work to source equipment, upgrade the space and train staff to deliver the project in these areas is well under way.

It is expected these libraries - in Aberdeen, Inverclyde, Midlothian, Perth and South Ayrshire - will open their ‘Lend and Mend Hubs’ for public use early this year, with the other four services expected to open later in 2023.

Pamela Tulloch, chief executive of SLIC, said: “The ‘Lend and Mend Hub’ library project has the potential to create a real impact – especially 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 play, giving people access to resources they might not otherwise have to support responsible consumption and learning – with the added benefit of it being local and free.

“With all nine public library partners now selected, we can’t wait to see these local library services transform and thrive for the long-term benefit of the communities around them.

"And with such wide geographical spread and diverse community reach, we believe this pilot project will provide valuable learnings in promoting the urgent need to adopt a more circular way of living and help develop a long-term model for libraries to be a hub of circular economy activities.”

The projects, led by SLIC, follow a co-design approach with all 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.

Councillor Alan Hill, cabinet member for communities and islands, said: “It is a tremendous honour for North Ayrshire Libraries to be involved in the Lend and Mend Hub pilot.

"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.”

A survey has also been launched to gather views on what local people would like to see available from the hub – view it here.

Cllr Hill added: “We invite suggestions from residents from all over North Ayrshire.

"The results of the survey will inform us of the equipment to purchase and the types of workshops to procure in order to support our customers using the service.”