Celebrating National Libraries Week 2018: Can a book exchange improve mental health?

 

The theme for Libraries Week, 8–13 October is wellbeing, providing libraries with a chance to celebrate how they are supporting their community.

At the Mary Seacole Library, City South Campus, there is a great initiative running, a Book Exchange. Resources and a space for reading for pleasure have been provided. A chat with the Library Advisor working on this project outlined how the Exchange is set-up, how it can support students and staff to take time out of their busy lives, to relax, and in so doing improve their mental health through the simple act of reading.

What is the Book Exchange?

“It is a collection of fiction and non-fiction books that have been donated by staff and students who no longer want them but really want to share the pleasure of reading with others. Library colleagues set it up and I now have the pleasure of taking it on.”

Where is the Book Exchange?

“You can find it on the right hand side, immediately on entering through the Mary Seacole Library security gates. It has recently been relocated to this position to ensure more people see it, and get to enjoy the collection. Over the summer the books have been reorganised by genre and the collection was expanded.”

How can reading help with people’s mental wellbeing?

“It has been shown that reading can provide relaxation, motivation to learn, knowledge of other cultures, improvements in self-esteem, reduce symptoms of depression, increase empathy, improve communication and also help with creativity and imagination.”

The types of books in the Book Exchange?

“All sorts. Romantic fiction, historical fiction, crime, mystery, thriller, assorted popular fiction…lots.”

If I want to borrow a book from the Exchange what do I need to do?

“Just take a book off the Book Exchange shelves if you fancy it. You don’t need your borrower card. Just take it away. When you finish with it simply hand it in at the Library Helpdesk or place it on the Book Exchange shelves and staff will sort them.”

Can anyone donate books they’ve finished with?

“Absolutely. All books are welcomed. Just bring them to the Help Desk in the library or pop them on the Book Exchange shelves.”

What are your hopes this year for the Book Exchange?

“For students I really hope taking time away from studying, (where possible), to read a book on a completely different subject, will help to benefit their mental health and wellbeing in general. A lovely bit of down time.”

BookEx1Sept18

So, if you want to relax, get back in to reading, or maybe be adventurous and try a new genre, then come on down to City South. Grab a free book today and take yourself off to a different world for a little while…. Happy reading! Happy improved wellbeing!

Check out the Reading Agency too for more information about reading well for mental health.

^Posted on behalf of Fid Bleasdale, Library Advisor