Libraries Week takes place between 8–13 October to celebrate the nation’s libraries. It is organised by CILIP, the library and information association. This year, it focuses on wellbeing and how libraries bring communities together, combat loneliness, provide a space for reading and creativity and support people with their mental health.
The theme is particularly relevant in Suffolk, as we have our own mental health and wellbeing information service, New Chapters. Additionally, all of our services – physical and digital loans, computer access and activities for people all ages - are designed to improve people’s lives and make them feel happier.
Libraries Week also coincides with the launch of Pride & Periods. In association with East of England Co-op, Pink Parcel and Bloody Good Period, we have started to offer free sanitary items with no questions asked.
We get around 10,000 wellbeing enquiries a year and last year our Books on Prescription titles were borrowed over 4,000 times. The Libraries Week website lists several surprising wellbeing benefits of libraries. For example:
- Library users have higher life satisfaction, happiness and sense of purpose in life
- The health benefits of using libraries saves the NHS just under £30million a year
- Reading fiction leads to higher empathy and better relationships with others
- 76% of adults say reading improves their life and makes them feel good.
We have a number of exciting events taking place across our libraries this week, including performances from QuirkHouse Theatre Company at Ipswich County and Aldeburgh libraries, the start of the Sutton Hoo roadshow at Stoke Library and an Americana showcase at Ipswich County Library.
You can read more about the wonderful work our libraries do in our Annual Review for 2017-18.