LIBRARIES & HEALTH
A new strategic initiative spearheaded by Dr Malcolm Rigler and The Sound Agents is asserting the place of libraries in the centre of our communities. From personal experience, I know that libraries can be the beating hearts of our towns. Whilst museums and galleries have quite rightly attracted attention through their potential to attract new audiences, promote a wellbeing agenda and maybe - just maybe - address inequalities, libraries have taken a significant beating from a government hell-bent on eradicating them from our high streets.
I recently read the author Neil Gaiman describing how the US government knew how to predict how many prison cells they'll need in fifteen years time - use a simple algorithm based simply on how many children between 10 - 11 can read. In the same article he quoted Albert Einstein who when asked how we could make our children intelligent, replied: "If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales." Gaiman expands beautifully on the place of fiction in health societies.
“Literate women are more likely to send their children, especially their girls, to school,” he said. “By acquiring literacy, women become more economically self-reliant and more actively engaged in their country’s social, political and cultural life. All evidence shows that investment in literacy for women yields high development dividends.”
“Every literate woman marks a victory over poverty,” he noted, calling for “increasing funding and sustained advocacy for quality literacy programmes that empower women and ensure that girls and boys at primary and secondary level do not become a new generation of young illiterates.”
This strategic Libraries & Health Partnership is a critical resource for 21st century communities and our reimagining of health and wellbeing in the heart of the places we live and work. As hubs of learning - places of imagination - and as social condensers - we must support this initiative before libraries are relegated to history.
...and one more for good measure.