Libraries can play a key role in providing health and wellbeing information, as well as being accessible community settings to promote, support and encourage healthy lifestyles – for example, by hosting exercise classes and health promotion events.  Therapeutic reading groups can help to alleviate depression and improve wellbeing, and bibliotherapy (books on prescription) has been shown to improve patient self-management and patient-doctor collaboration. 3 4  However, in general, the evidence base on the health impacts of libraries (and other cultural services) is under-developed.

References

  1. The Reader Organisation, Liverpool Health Inequalities Research, “An investigation into the therapeutic benefits of reading in relation to depression and well-being,” 2010
  2. BOP Consulting and Department of Culture, Media and Sport, “Capturing the Impact of Libraries Final Report,” 2009.
  3. The Reader Organisation, Liverpool Health Inequalities Research, “An investigation into the therapeutic benefits of reading in relation to depression and well-being,” 2010
  4. BOP Consulting and Department of Culture, Media and Sport, “Capturing the Impact of Libraries Final Report,” 2009.