The hub will provide business and collaboration space
A new business hub aimed at inspiring and supporting entrepreneurs and small businesses is now open for membership at Troon Library.
The hub is part of the Scottish Coworking Network and offers dedicated desk space including fixed and hotdesking options.
The Scottish Library and Information Council (SLIC) worked with South Ayrshire Council to deliver the hub, which is part of a pilot programme in public libraries across Scotland. The South Ayrshire hub is the third to open in Scotland.
The project sits at the heart of 'Ambition and Opportunity - a national strategy for public libraries in Scotland 2015-2020', which reinforces the role which public libraries play in supporting employability, innovation, entrepreneurship and creativity. The project has been developed by SLIC with Scottish Government funding and is aimed at providing local entrepreneurs, freelance workers, start-ups and micro businesses with dedicated space to work, meet and collaborate.
The hub has four fixed desks and four hot desks and offers access to meeting rooms within the library. Hub members also have access to online resources, a programme of professional development workshops and events, and an online forum to support professional networking and collaboration.
Membership is available from £42 (£35 plus vat) per month for a hot desk and £60 (£50 plus vat) per month for a fixed desk. Members will be able to use any of the hubs within the Scottish Coworking Network, subject to availability. Further hubs in other parts of Scotland will follow in the coming weeks.
Pamela Tulloch, chief executive, SLIC said: "Scotland's public libraries offer the perfect environment to support aspiring entrepreneurs. Libraries are located at the heart of communities, they are connected, and offer an abundance of information and resources. The new hubs will offer equal access to a support structure that will help people turn their passions and ideas into sustainable employment. They are ideal for small sole traders and those who may be currently running a small business from their kitchen or dining room table.
"We hope the presence of this resource in Troon Library will encourage more people to consider self-employment by removing barriers, supporting innovation and providing practical tools and information.
"This project is further demonstration of the changing role of public libraries and how services are transforming to ensure they meet the needs of modern communities."
Councillor Brian McGinley, Economy and Culture Portfolio Holder for South Ayrshire Council said: "I am delighted the hub is open for business. Troon Library is the perfect environment and I'm sure our entrepreneurs and small business owners will appreciate the amount of resources at their fingertips.
"Through our AMBITION programme we already support many small businesses and start-ups, so the hub is a welcome addition. I look forward to the roll-out of more hubs across South Ayrshire in the future."
SLIC has commissioned independent researchers to assist with evaluation of the pilot. The evaluation will provide a roadmap to enable library services across Scotland to roll-out the concept, with the aim of creating a national network of dedicated spaces in libraries for entrepreneurs.
The initiative has the backing of a range of organisations, including the Scottish Institute of Enterprise, Creative Scotland, Carnegie UK Trust, Young Enterprise Scotland, Business Gateway, Scottish Towns Partnership, the Federation of Small Businesses and Elevator UK.
More information on the Scottish Coworking Network, including details of membership and prices, is available at www.scottishcoworking.org .