Reading is good for you!
I have just been reading this month's edition of the excitingly entitled Library and Information Update which I recieve as part of my membership to the professional association of librarians, the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP) when I stumbled across a fascinating article about the increasing recognition of the health benefits of reading written by Debbie Hicks.
Research shows that reading works better than other methods (it is not clear what other methods) to reduce stress and calm anxiety. In addition there is a strong link between literacy and good health. Morever, there is evidence showing how beneficial membership of a reading group can be by combating isolation and improving self-esteem.
The point of the article was to outline a new programme organised by The reading agency to raise the profile of libraries working in this area because "health and well-being is now at the heart of public library vision". Libraries have already contributed to improving health through the books on prescription service, but this new programme is going to promote "creative bibliotherapy" which will include reading activities, particularly for older people.
This made me feel happy. Firstly that what I spend so much time doing is good for me! And secondly that libraries are going to be able to contribute to the health of the nation.
PS: Regarding bibliotherapy, I'm not sure if you have come across Justine Picardie's blog, but she does a wonderful series of "what to read when..." covering all sorts of themes such as cheering up, in memorium, when you don't want to go for a walk...; I am sure the notion that there is a book for every occasion is an important part of bibliotherapy.