Feel good at the library this Libraries Week
Libraries Week sees community choirs, live gigs, late-night openings and wellbeing sessions bringing communities together to celebrate the nation’s libraries
- From support for people living with dementia to yoga sessions, a travelling happiness bar, opportunities to learn a new language and advice on healthy living – some 1,000 libraries across the UK will showcase how they improve health and wellbeing.
- Four of Wales’s best bands – Eadyth, Seazoo, Estrons and I See Rivers - perform sets in Llandudno Library, Swansea University Library and Carmarthenshire Libraries.
- New crowd-sourced list of Mood-boosting books will be published by The Reading Agency.
- Award-wining poet, picture book author and libraries advocate Joseph Coelho joins a Twitter chat to share stories about the nation’s much-loved libraries and librarians.
- Over 28,000 children in Leicester get reading for the city’s first Readathon to raise money for school libraries and literacy projects.
- All 325 public libraries in London take part in Libraries Week with late-night openings, film screenings and wellbeing sessions.
- And to conclude Libraries Week, community choirs will bring the joy of singing into libraries with special performances.
This October, communities and librarians across the country are joining in a week-long celebration of the nation’s much-loved libraries. Libraries Week takes place between the 8th and 13th October and this year has a wellbeing theme. Libraries will showcase how they bring communities together, combat loneliness, provide a space for reading and creativity, and support people with their mental health. On Saturday 13th October community choirs will bring the wellbeing benefits of singing into local libraries up and down the country.
Actor, musician and campaigner Jordan Stephens has lent his support to Libraries Week and a dedicated poster has been produced for libraries to display. In the poster Jordan says, “A single moment can change an entire life. I’ve often found those moments occur within the pages of a book. Words are magic.”
Libraries Week is organised by CILIP, the library and information association. Nick Poole, Chief Executive of CILIP said, “I am delighted that all types of libraries across the UK are taking part in Libraries Week. Libraries are unique spaces in our communities that promote reading and improve our wellbeing. Research has linked reading for pleasure with a reduction in stress, the symptoms of depression and the risk of developing dementia in later life – with the health benefits of using libraries saving the NHS just under £30 million a year. There’s no better time to find out what’s happening at your library and if you haven’t already, sign up for your free library card and start exploring.”
Libraries Week Day-by-Day
Libraries Week begins with the publication of The Reading Agency’s new list of Mood-boosting books on Monday 8th October as part of a national promotion of crowd-sourced uplifting books, including novels, poetry and non-fiction titles. The list is curated by a panel of librarians, readers and staff from The Reading Agency.
On the same day, Libraries Week will host a special Twitter Chat with award-wining poet, picture book author and libraries advocate Joseph Coelho. #AskJoseph takes place on Monday 8th October from 12 – 1pm and is a chance to celebrate your favourite libraries and librarians. Joseph recognises the importance of libraries as part of the fabric of childhood and families, and explains why he wanted to celebrate them in his picture book Luna Loves Library Day, “Luna Loves Library Day is about the magic of libraries, the wonder of ink on paper, but also about their essential role in helping and aiding families, in being a safe space for everyone and anyone to learn and to discover and I truly believe that it is only through such spaces that we can support our children, shore-up our families and heal our communities.“
There will be a celebration of libraries at Westminster with the Parliamentary launch of Libraries Week on Tuesday 9th October. Sponsored by Nielsen Book, the event is hosted by the All Party Parliamentary Group for Libraries. Speakers include Michael Ellis MP, Secretary of State at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and Gill Furniss MP, Chair of the Libraries APPG. The event will end with a performance from New Young Voices Collective, the resident choir at Stratford Circus Arts Centre, who work with Living Song, a community interest company.
On World Mental Health Day, Wednesday 10th October, The Reading Agency will publish the annual impact evaluation of Reading Well, a Reading Agency and Libraries Connected programme that helps you to understand and manage your health and wellbeing using self-help reading. The scheme is endorsed by health professionals and supported by public libraries. There are currently four book lists available; Reading Well for mental health, Reading Well for dementia, Reading Well for young people, and Reading Well for long term conditions. The evaluation will include case studies of the programme in four library authorities; Coventry, Kirklees, Bath and North East Somerset and Lewisham. The books are all endorsed by health experts, as well as people with living with the conditions covered and their relatives and carers. You can be recommended a title by a health professional, or you can visit your local library and take a book out yourself.
Debbie Hicks, Creative Director of The Reading Agency, said, “We’re delighted by the life-changing role Reading Well plays in the public library health offer. We know that nearly a million people have already used their local library to access quality-assured health information that comes recommended by medical professionals and people with experience of the conditions covered. Google depression and you get a bewildering choice of options; borrow a Reading Well title from the library and you know you are getting the gold standard, tried and tested by experts”
Mark Freeman, President, Libraries Connected, said, “The Reading Well programme demonstrates one of the most valuable roles that libraries provide: bringing high quality and authoritative information to local communities to help improve lives. It also directly delivers on local and national government priorities to give individuals and families the information they need to make healthier choices. So we are delighted to work with The Reading Agency to provide this scheme as part of our Universal Health offer.”
On Thursday 11th October, the winner of the CILIP Libraries Change Lives Award will be announced. The award recognises excellence and innovation in UK libraries. Three library services in Glasgow, Kirklees and Newcastle have been shortlisted. From helping people to get online and access essential digital services, to providing critical financial and legal advice, and bringing the joy of books to adults and children with diverse needs through multisensory storytelling, these three pieces of work showcase how libraries build successful partnerships and improve the wellbeing of communities across the country.
Schools across Leicester are joining forces for the city's first mass Readathon. More than 28,000 children in some 67 schools are signed up to participate in the mass sponsored read between the 1st and 12th October, with money raised going to support school libraries as well as bring the power of stories to Leicester Children's Hospital. A citywide ‘Drop Everything and Read’ takes place at 2pm on Friday 12th to mark the end of the Readathon, with spaces across the city opening up to provide reading spaces for anyone else who wants to join in - from city councillors to the Haymarket Theatre. The Readathon is being organised by charity Read for Good in partnership with the Leicester-based Whatever it Takes team.
As part of Libraries Week, London Libraries will be hosting the second ‘Worlds of Possibilities - The London Libraries Festival’, on Saturday 13th October. All of London’s 325 public libraries are participating and will be delivering an expanded day of events and activities to cater for all ages and interests. Events organised include ‘library lates’, evenings where libraries will extend their normal opening hours, film screenings, music events including performances from local choirs, coding clubs and a wide range of wellbeing sessions.
Music has long been proven to be a positive factor in improving wellbeing and that will be demonstrated as four of Wales’s best bands perform sets in Llandudno Library and Swansea University Library. On the afternoon of Friday, 12th October Merthyr electronic artist Eadyth and Wrexham favourites Seazoo will take to the shelves of Llandudno Library and the following day Eadyth will again perform alongside Norwegian sirens from Tenby, I See Rivers in the iconic Swansea University Library Reading Room. Carmarthenshire Libraries will also be staging a gig with the formidable Estrons on Sunday afternoon, 14th October.
Libraries Week concludes with special performances from community choirs to bring the joy of singing into libraries. Libraries getting involved include Southampton Central Library, who will host two choirs and a Ukulele band, a pop-up performance in Barbican Music Library in London from SHE Choir - a collectively-run women’s choir, Wallasey Central Library, Abbots Langley Library in Hertfordshire, Morpeth Library in Northumberland and Cheddar Library in Somerset, who are holding a mini folk music festival with fifteen acts in three hours.
Join in the #LibrariesWeek conversation and find out more at www.librariesweek.org.uk