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Libraries Week & World Mental Health Day: a roundup

This 8-13 October, libraries across the country held events and activities to celebrate CILIP’s Libraries Week. As it coincided with World Mental Health Day on 10 October, CILIP turned the occasion into an opportunity to showcase how libraries of all kinds bring communities together, combat loneliness, provide a space for reading and creativity and support people with their mental health and wellbeing.

Reading Well Mood-boosting Books 2018

Here at Reading Well, we kicked off the celebrations by launching our brand new Mood-boosting Booklist 2018, featuring fiction, non-fiction and poetry by the likes of Matt Haig, Kit de Waal and Gail Honeyman. Libraries put on fabulous displays and helped to showcase our reader recommendations on social media throughout the week.

Studies consistently show that reading for pleasure can boost wellbeing and develop empathy. Reading Well Mood-boosting Books is a national promotion of uplifting titles, all recommended by readers and reading groups.

We were also delighted to attend the official parliamentary launch of Libraries Week at the House of Commons, with an amazing performance from a London choir in support of CILIP’s Sing in the Library initiative.

Public library events

In Lancashire, Longridge Library held a Mental Health Awareness Coffee Morning, where people could drop in to have a chat about the benefits of reading for wellbeing and browse the library’s Reading Well collections. Meanwhile, in Shrewsbury the library service offered a free mindfulness session for adults and young children. Oldbury library worked together with Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust to put on a World Mental Health Day drop-in event, complete with health and wellbeing information stands, taster sessions on relaxation and pottery, and access to the Reading Well booklists. York Libraries held a reading group featuring a book by Reading Well author Matt Haig, and back down south Brighton & Hove Libraries launched two new groups for creative writing and mindfulness.


Over in Wales, Denbighshire libraries held a special launch event for the Reading Well Books on Prescription for dementia scheme, in collaboration with the publisher of Pictures to Share books, which feature on the list.

You can find out more about the recent launch of Reading Well in Wales in our July blog post.

Public libraries and beyond

It wasn’t just public libraries getting involved – health libraries across the country have been promoting their Reading Well collections to NHS staff and patients, such as Blackpool NHS Library, which held information stalls at Blackpool Victoria Hospital. In a stellar example of public library and health sector collaboration, Artizan St. Library in London loaned Reading Well collections to the Royal College of Psychiatrists to display to staff in the London office.

School libraries were also taking part in the Libraries Week celebrations, as the focus of this year’s World Mental Health Day was on the particular challenges facing young people’s mental health.

New College Leicester launched our Reading Well for young people booklist (also known as Shelf Help) in their library and ran a Reading Well competition for students to nominate the books that make them smile, and the Shelf Help collection was displayed by Wigan and Leigh College and Newall Green High School.

The Read Manchester project by the National Literacy Trust also took to social media to promote their use of Reading Well for young people in schools in the Manchester area.

Manchester Libraries even made this informative video explaining how they are working with local charities to provide the collection to young people who are affected by homelessness:

All in all, a very busy week – here’s to next year!

Get involved

  • Visit our resources page for downloadable resources to help you deliver Reading Well

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