Suffolk Libraries has welcomed a report issued this week by the Reading Agency which shows how important reading can be in tackling challenges such as loneliness, mental health, dementia and social (im)mobility.
The report, titled A Society of Readers, was commissioned by the Reading Agency and was carried out by leading think tank DEMOS. The report raises serious concerns over the effects issues such as loneliness and dementia may have on society by 2030, but also highlights how encouraging more people to read regularly can be a significant part of the solution.
Introducing the report, Sue Wilkinson, chief executive of the Reading Agency, says:
"The forecasts for the loneliness epidemic are particularly shocking, but reading can be part of the solution. As this report demonstrates, it is not only an essential life skill but has huge power to bring people together to combat loneliness among all age groups. Through reading-based national interventions, we can future-proof our society, and ultimately use reading to help protect younger generations at risk of rising levels of loneliness."
Bruce Leeke, Suffolk Libraries chief executive, said: "The research in this report shows just how important reading can be and the crucial role that libraries can play. So many of the issues and ideas in the report support why the work that Suffolk Libraries is doing in communities is vital for the future wellbeing of people of all ages.
"Our reading groups and regular activities for older people are bringing them together to socialise and make friends and the library service is particularly important in rural areas where it’s easy for people to become isolated. Our innovative mental health and wellbeing service, together with the Books on Prescription scheme, is helping people to open up and find the support and information they need.
"This year's National Libraries Week had the theme of Wellbeing, which helped to highlight this aspect of libraries' work. We recognise that wellbeing and happiness are at the heart of everything we do. This includes books and reading because we know they bring so many benefits to the whole community and make people happier. I’m hoping this report can bring even more focus to the importance of reading and the need to support and appreciate the enriching power of local libraries."
You can find out more about the report on the Reading Agency website.