Ambitious Memories Project for Scottish Libraries

15 Jun 2022

A new Scotland-wide libraries reminiscence project was launched last month at Rutherglen Library in South Lanarkshire.

Memories Scotland previously attracted the largest ever grant from Scottish Government’s Public Library Improvement Fund (PLIF), administered by the Scottish Library and Information Council (SLIC).

The libraries project is the latest development of a long-running programme which started life as Football Memories Scotland, a partnership between Scottish Football Museum and Alzheimer Scotland.

Memory Groups in Scottish Libraries

With twenty-four regional library services signed up so far, this new phase involves the creation of Memory Groups in library venues across Scotland. These groups will bring together people from all walks of life to share conversation and company on a regular basis.

Like its predecessor Football Memories Scotland, the libraries project will use images and other materials to spark reminiscence among Memory Group participants.

Going beyond the original focus on sports, however, the library groups will access Scottish Libraries’ unique local studies collections via the Memories Scotland archive as well as materials shared by partners such as the National Library of Scotland. This means participants will be encouraged to recall wider social history themes, spanning working life and social life.

Figure 2. Ladies getting on the mobile library at Kippford (C) Dumfries & Galloway LibrariesThe project also reflects the role of libraries as accessible, welcoming spaces in our local communities.  In the wake of the Covid pandemic, Memories Scotland aims to tackle social isolation and loneliness by bringing people together for informal group reminiscence. So while the new groups remain dementia-friendly, they will be open to all – and keen to engage a wider audience.

Pilot groups have already started meeting in several library venues with more planning local activity for the coming months. Groups will take different forms depending on local circumstances and libraries’ knowledge of their communities. The people who attend groups – the participants – will be encouraged to choose themes and topics, to ensure that sessions are engaging and worthwhile. This means no two Memory Groups will look the same: they will be delivered in a way which is locally meaningful, sustainable and reflective of participants’ needs and interests.

Against this local flexibility will be a networked approach to promote best practice and sharing of resources.

Resources & Materials

Figure 3. Partner library services are provided with “Welcome Packs” to help run Memory GroupsBy providing libraries staff with a suite of materials the new Memories Scotland website is central to this approach. Partner libraries have access to a vast digital archive of social and sports history images, as well as the facility to create “lightbox” presentations to structure reminiscence sessions. The website also hosts a document library as well as the comprehensive Memories Scotland training which includes practical reminiscence, communication and digital skills.

Participating venues are also provided with the physical materials required to run Memory Groups, including posters, banners and appointment cards to help participants find the meetings. And partners will be encouraged to share their own knowledge and materials via the Memories Scotland website and through regular online meetings.

Like Football Memories Scotland, there are opportunities to become involved with the project as a volunteer. Several library services are currently recruiting volunteers to either lead or support Memory Groups in their venues.

Once Memory Groups are up-and-running, library services will be encouraged to participate in evaluation, to ensure the project is achieving its aims. This will include seeking feedback from participants to shape future developments.

As a partnership project, Memories Scotland benefits from the experience of both a variety of sectors and geographical spread. Overseeing the project is a Steering Group chaired by North Ayrshire Libraries with representation from East Dunbartonshire Leisure and Culture Trust, Falkirk Community Trust, Glasgow Life, South Ayrshire Libraries and South Lanarkshire Leisure and Culture Trust as well as the National Library of Scotland, the Digital Health & Care Innovation Centre and both the Chair and Football Memories lead officer at the Scottish Football Museum. A Library Development Officer is working with library partners to coordinate their contributions to the archive and plan for the roll-out of new Memory Groups.

Memories Scotland Film

A short film, supported by the Scottish Football Museum, was produced to mark the launch of Memories Scotland. With contributions from staff, volunteers and participants, this film explains some of the history and hopes of this ambitious Scotland-wide project as it takes its next steps with Scottish Libraries. For more information, see and follow the project on social media:

Memories Scotland on Twitter 
Memories Scotland on Instagram 
Memories Scotland on Facebook



The Football Memories Scotland Conference 2022

05 May 2022

Football Memories are delighted to be holding our first face to face meeting since the pandemic effected all our lives.

The Football Memories Scotland Conference, entitled ‘Moving forward together’ will take place on Friday 6 May 2022, Hampden Park.

As well as meeting up with some familiar faces after a long break, delegates will get updates on the new Football Memories organisational website, and well as the new site. adds a wealth of social history images into our sporting archives. It has been developed in partnership with SLIC and 23 local authorities across Scotland. will have it’s full launch later in May.

The Edinburgh Clubs

08 Apr 2015

Through our access to the Herald archive, we have begun digitising images which originally appeared in the Edinburgh based bulletin newspaper. 112 new images of Hibernian and Hearts will soon be available online, including photographs of the successful Hibernian and Hearts teams of the 1940s and 50s. There are photographs of the Famous Five and Terrible Trio in training and a delighted Dave MacKay after a League Cup win. There are also images of the 2 sides from the 1960s and 70s, during which period the sides continued to contest silverware. We will also be adding images of St Johnstone and Aberdeen very soon…

The senior game in Scotland

15 Mar 2015

We have begun digitising senior football images, targeting important moments in club histories. In addition to images of players in profile, action shots and training sequences, photographs will be available of the 1957 Falkirk cup winning side, the 1959 St Mirren cup winning side and the 1965 league winning Kilmarnock side, including celebrations and action shots of the important games. Also in addition to the Queen’s Park team photographs held at the Scottish Football Museum, we will also be adding images of Queen’s Park games.

Junior Football Images Added!

14 Jan 2015

We have now digitised close to 1,000 images of junior football, shortly to be made available to participants of the Football Memories project. We now have access to many images of Junior Cup Finals, held in front of vast Hampden crowds and the celebrations of the winning sides. A great number forgotten of senior professionals also began their careers as young players for junior clubs and are photographed at this stage of their careers, and indeed family members of very recent professionals are also identifiable. In time we hope that this image collection can draw attention to the great moments in the history of local town football, and stimulate memories of the great players and cult heroes.

Memories Scotland


Memories Scotland – A digital archive for Scotland’s Memory Groups


Memories Scotland
Hampden Park, Glasgow, G42 9BA
Tel: +44 (0)141 616 6139 for enquiries & bookings