Doncaster Library has joined forces with national charity, The Reader, to give people in the region the chance to experience literature’s life-supporting benefits.
It is one of three libraries across South Yorkshire to have teamed up for the new joint project- supported by Arts Council National Lottery Project Grants - to train 30 people to deliver 18 Shared Reading groups, in a range of library and community venues across the region.
Shared Reading – bringing great books, poems and plays to life through reading aloud and group discussion – is a powerful group experience that sparks connection, reflection and discovery. By creating space for people of all ages, backgrounds and life situations to explore their inner lives and develop meaningful relationships with others, Shared Reading develops confidence, improves wellbeing and builds community.
Nick Stopforth, head of service at Doncaster Library, said: “We are delighted to have been supported by Arts Council England to deliver this exciting and worthwhile project. Shared Reading is a proven model with clear health outcomes. By collaborating and pooling together our resources across three local authorities, and upskilling our staff and volunteers to deliver groups, this provides a fantastic springboard for libraries and to play a valuable role in connecting our communities.”
The Reader already support 500 weekly Shared Reading groups across the country, thanks to a growing movement of almost 900 volunteers. More than 80 of these groups are currently hosted in public libraries, where they help to support the health and wellbeing of local communities.
The Reader’s founder and director, Jane Davies, said: “Research tells us there are one million elderly people who are chronically lonely in the UK, one in four people have mental health issues, and one in 10 homes doesn't possess a single book. Shared Reading is a tool that can help people to carve out that rare time.”