Welsh libraries and Wellbeing Wales recently joined together to support the conference ‘Promoting Health: Libraries – Your Community Asset’ which demonstrated the role that libraries can play in supporting people’s wellbeing in the community. At the conference the 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: “Public library staff are doing invaluable work to support the health and wellbeing of their communities as the case studies in this Guide show. Reading is 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 in Wales and wish them well in their future work.”
The Minister went on to say that “Libraries are not extras or add-ons, information and knowledge is not optional. We have to do everything we can, up to and including legislation so that we don’t follow England.”
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 across Wales, and as these studies show, they offer friendly, welcoming and safe spaces to all people including the most vulnerable in our society.”
Photographs are copyright Welsh Government (Libraries Inspire)