Lothian Lugs
West Lothian libraries

“Very interesting event. I will be look out for other events. I have 2 autistic teenagers and it is great to hear that research is underway that may make a difference to their lives and to other autistic people’s lives. Mental health issues particularly in the current Covid world are increasing rapidly and I’m interested to see where this will go.”
Member of the public
Handwritten comment by a user

The aim of Lothian Lugs was to listen to communities to explore how to share cutting edge research with them, and how they can help shape future research.

Higher Education Engagement

The library service worked with Heriot-Watt University, St Margaret’s Academy and West Lothian Council’s More Choices More Chances Keyworker team.

The academic partners reported a much better understanding of areas of public interest in research, and that this has led to them developing new resources to support the public to conduct their own research. They have also built strong partnerships with new community organisations, especially youth groups, and this has led to new funding bids and research projects as a result.


The project team planned a series of listening tours for university researchers, where they could listen to the needs and concerns of the local communities, with a focus on future technologies and perceived or potential impacts on health and healthcare.

Due to Covid-19 restrictions the early engagement was redeveloped into an online community survey, school survey and young person’s survey. The team then hosted 5 focus group meetings online in place of the face to face listening tours, comprising of 3 adult, 1 young person and 2 secondary school pupil groups.

To complete the activities programme, 9 events were conducted in libraries to showcase some of the research areas that the survey and focus groups had shown an interest in finding out more about. The sessions were well attended (Covid-19 restrictions were in place) and very well received.

Public Impact

The library service are receiving requests from customers to host more activities from visiting researchers and are currently developing a 2022 programme in response to these.

Impact on Library Staff

Staff now have a strong relationship with Heriot-Watt University which will feed into the ongoing library offer. The information received across all demographics as part of the listening exercise will help staff improve services.

The library service has also been able to broker connections between other Council Services and the University partners, who are currently developing relevant activities and workshops tailored to their specific needs.

Key facts

Engagement type
Face-to-face in library
Group discussions
Workshops and talks
Universal Offer
Information and Digital
Heriot-Watt University

Further Information