Libraries support your health and wellbeing

January 21, 2013

Libraries support your health and wellbeing

Welsh libraries and Wellbeing Wales  joined together to support a conference in Newport last week which demonstrated the role that libraries can play in supporting people’s wellbeing in the community.

Minister for Housing, Regeneration and Heritage, Huw Lewis launched ‘The First Incomplete Field Guide to Wellbeing in Libraries’ – a booklet which contains case studies from libraries across all of Wales showing the diverse range of activities already undertaken in support of sustainable health and wellbeing. From story times and job clubs to Book Prescription Wales and a girls’ night in, the case studies highlight the impact libraries can have on local people and communities.

The Minister said: “Walesis a world leader of pioneering work between health services and libraries – the first Books on Prescription scheme anywhere in the world was launched as the Cardiff Book Prescription Scheme in 2003, and was rolled out as Book Prescription Wales (BPW) in 2005. Public library staff are doing invaluable work to support the health and wellbeing of their communities as the case studies in this Guide show.

“Readingis not only an excellent pastime, offering opportunities to relax and to briefly escape from the stresses of everyday life, but is also a great way to access reliable trustworthy information and empowers people to make informed decisions about their lifestyles, wellbeing and health. I congratulate Welsh libraries on their work to help improve wellbeing inWalesand wish them well in their future work.”

One of the main speakers at the conference, Professor Sir Mansel Aylward, CB – Chair of Public Health Wales wrote the foreword to the booklet and said “Libraries are at the heart of communities acrossWales, and as these studies show, they offer friendly, welcoming and safe spaces to all people including the most vulnerable in our society.”

Last autumn Welsh Libraries showcased these services in their Get Reading, Get Better, Get Libraries campaign which was supported by international rugby referee – Nigel Owens, Olympic gold medallist – Jade Jones, TV Presenter and Comedian – Chris Corcoran and TV weather forecaster – Derek Brockway.

International Rugby Referee, Nigel Owens said: ‘Libraries are a vital part of today’s community.  Taking time out to relax is very important to your health and wellbeing.  Reading is a great way to do this and joining in with group activities at the library can help you share experiences and have some fun.’

For more details on the services and activities available in your area or to obtain a copy of the booklet call into your local library or visit www.librarywales.org

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