East Midlands public libraries supporting health and wellbeing
East Midlands Public Libraries have a long tradition of working together on reader development initiatives and have led the way on a number of creative projects to reach readers and to build new audiences for books and reading.
East Midlands projects
Individual public library authorities in the East Midlands are working closely with health and social care partners to develop new ways of working and projects.
Highfields Library Feel 'Good Look Good' Family Health Day took place at Highfields Library in Leicester on Saturday 17th April, 2010. The event was arranged in partnership with Leicester Libraries, NHS Leicester City, Area Youth Outreach Workers and Central Extended Services, admission was free.
Reading and Health Conference
The Reading and Health Conference, held on Tuesday 13th April 2010 at Chesterfield Library brought together colleagues from libraries and the health and social care sectors across the East Midlands. It provided an opportunity to share good practice and experiences around reading for health and well-being; showcased a number of regional initiatives; and explored strategies for future partnership working.
Seventy three delegates attended from every corner of the East Midlands including strategic managers from libraries, health and social care, and library staff with responsibility for reader development, access and inclusion and community development. Speakers included Debbie Hicks of The Reading Agency who outlined the national context, and there were presentations from library and health sector professionals. Workshops around audiences and partners and on building the case and evidencing impact were also facilitated. The programme for the day can be seen below together with copies of the speaker presentations.
Evaluation responses were very positive with participants appreciating the opportunity to network and share experiences, to hear about the work already underway around health and well being and the chance to meet existing and potential partners. The high quality and well delivered presentations provided an excellent range of examples and ideas to inspire future working across the sectors.
Participants were asked “if you only do one thing as a result of today what will it be?” The responses were tremendous, highlighting a huge range of individual actions which clearly demonstrated the enthusiasm and commitment to move this work forward.
The outcomes of the workshop discussions and the evaluations will be further considered by the EMRALD (East Midlands Libraries and Reader Development) Group, and local and region-wide actions to build on the outcomes of the day will be identified. A key area of work for the future is working with health professionals on gathering the evidence to demonstrate the contribution that libraries and reading make to the health and well-being agenda.
Reading and health in the East Midlands
A mapping exercise of the regional reading and health landscape was undertaken in autumn 2009. It revealed a rich, extensive and diverse scene, shaped by local priorities and resources but with huge potential for collaboration within the public library sector and for partnership development and profile building with external health and social care partners. The findings of the mapping were collated and can be seen below together with a brief summary document.