Libraries Week is an annual opportunity to celebrate all things ‘library.’ To showcase all the fabulous things libraries offer.
The focus for Libraries Week this year is ‘wellbeing’ and with a world that is constantly seeming to get faster and louder, with pressures coming at us from all directions in both work and personal life, this is both a very apt and important area on which to focus.
With all of those above pressures it has become more and more important to ensure that we are indeed looking after our wellbeing. Not just our physical health either, but our mental and emotional health as well.
Wellbeing is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as ‘the state of being comfortable, healthy or happy.’ Not too much of an ask then!
We all face struggles and challenges in our lives of course, our very existence demands it. Day to day tasks and responsibilities (work, family, children) all contribute to us facing stress and difficulties at some point. No one goes through life without facing something that will challenge or test us but it is how we react and deal with these challenges that defines our wellbeing or our ‘resilience’. And the more aware we are of how our mental, physical and emotional wellbeing is and how we react to the things life throws at us, the better prepared and equipped we will be at maintaining good wellbeing.
So how can libraries help support my wellbeing, you ask? We’ll be looking at different ways libraries can support your wellbeing in some extra blog posts over the coming week, but the first and possibly most important way is supporting your reading for pleasure.
Libraries Support Your Wellbeing: Reading for Pleasure
Those of you who read, regularly or not, can hopefully attest to the benefits of picking up a book and simply losing yourself. Whether it be in an adventure or crime drama, a family saga or comedy. It may be finding out about how to make your cake rise better or where the best walks are on your next holiday. Whichever it is books enable us to escape. It doesn’t matter what you read either. Simply picking up a book and cracking open that spine (or sliding your finger across the first page of a tablet) means you are taking time out for yourself.
Reading for pleasure gives us so many benefits that it can a bit hard to list them all. Reading helps us relax (very important for wellbeing), gives us enjoyment (ditto), provides us with escapism (see above) and that’s just the obvious stuff! Reading increases our creativity and fuels our imagination (who can read something without picturing it in your head?), bolsters our self esteem and also improves our communication skills.
It can also be the best way to explore the sometimes scary world around us (in all its many facets) in a safe and approachable way. Very important for children but also for grown -ups too. Reading can also boost our empathy and our connection to the world we live in. Not just improving our own wellbeing but that of the society we exist in.
Reading can, not cure, but it can also help reduce symptoms of depression and dementia.
Libraries support reading for pleasure by offering you free access to a wealth of books and reading material. We don’t claim to have everything (it would be impossible to) but we certainly do have quite a bit! Come and check out your local library and see what we do have. Give yourself time to relax and browse the shelves. Pick up some books and flick through the pages. See which books call out to you. Some will, some won’t. It can be a very personal choice so don’t worry if your choice doesn’t match someone else’s!
If time or transport is a problem, you can check our online catalogue from home, also helpful if you want to search specific subjects or authors. It will also show you what others have been reading (recently returned books are always interesting to have a rummage through!) and can point you in the direction of other websites to help you explore what might appeal to you.
Don’t forget that you can access ebooks and eaudio books from the libraries website also!
I’ll be exploring some other ways libraries support wellbeing in further blog posts this week. Until then, happy reading!
Please do share in the comments below your experiences of reading and how it may have helped you.
Post by DMH