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Key role for libraries

Posted onPosted on 14th Apr
Key role for libraries

Nottinghamshire libraries are playing an important role in promoting health and wellbeing in our local communities.

National research says that an increased emphasis on health promotion and health awareness and activity can tackle problems before they take hold.

Nottinghamshire County Council’s Culture Committee has been looking at how libraries are supporting the health and wellbeing agenda in the county.

Coun John Knight, committee chairman, said: “It is now recognised that health is as much about emotional and psychological wellbeing as it is about physical wellbeing.

“There is a clear role for libraries here. Libraries are information providers and library staff can help people find the information they need, guiding them and helping them to access and understand the information they need.”

Some of the initiatives which have taken place across the county are:

• Libraries countywide:
The library has received funding from internal and external partners to develop book collections which promote health and wellbeing. These have included the successful Books on Prescription scheme which is funded by Public Health. The initiative is in partnership with a range of medical organisations including The Royal College of Psychiatrists, The Royal College of Nurses and The Royal College of General Practitioners.

• Libraries countywide:
A partnership between the libraries service and Sherwood Forest Hospitals to pilot memory bags for loan to help support people with dementia – which will be launched in May. It helps people to remember things from the past and can prove a valuable resource for the person affected and their carers.

• Mansfield Library:
Working with the Mental Health Co-Production Team, the Expressions exhibition is touring these libraries over the summer period and the contributing artists have experience of mental health issues.

• Warsop Library:
Rug Rats was the name of an activity run by a voluntary sector organisation in partnership with the local Sure Start scheme in Warsop.
During a six-month programme, 15 young parents took part in the scheme with their children. The sessions started with an hour of relaxed social time where parents could sit and chat with each other and the workers, and featured activities including making baby books and story bags, healthy cooking, baby massage and plaster foot and hand moulds. A SureStart or health visitor came along to the group every other week.

Other ideas which could be considered in the long term by the county council’s libraries service include introducing dedicated sections within some of the county’s biggest libraries known as health and wellbeing centres, with dedicated areas housing healthy living and health related books and resources.

Self-help books on prescription could be made available for loan for children and young people as part of the plans, and there could be more healthy eating and other health promotion courses provided by the Adult Community Learning Service (ACLS).