Libraries and well-being

Volume 49 NO. 1–2 2016

The Öresund/Øresund Link is a bridge and tunnel connecting Sweden and Denmark. Since it opened in 2000 it has contributed to increased collaboration between the two cities Copenhagen in Denmark and Malmö in Sweden and the two cities are part of the community of the Öresund/ Øresund area. Photo: NASA/Public domainHappy together

Libraries create well-being through connections, collaborationand community. Collaboration between libraries, their connectionsto other local actors and functioning as a meeting placein their own area strengthens the local community. The library also facilitates networking among associations, organizationsand individual patrons.

A book from the Rosenthaliana Library in Amsterdam, which was plundered by the Nazis and taken to the Institute for Study of the Jewish Question in Frankfurt. Some time during battle, at the end of the war, it was hit by a bullet, probably from an allied soldier. Photo: Anders RydellLibraries are vital meeting places

Last autumn, the books in the library in Ramsberg, a small community in northern Västmanland, disappeared! A group of villagers took 4,700 books from the shelves to a “secret hiding place”. The politicians in Lindesberg Municipality had decided that the residents of Ramsberg did not need their own library.

A new map of Reykjavik. Photo: Kristín HauksdóttirThe new human landscapes of Iceland

As the world looks today – and maybe has done always – the human landscapes are in a constant state of change. The movement of people and the changes in the ‘landscapes’ is a fact that has to be considered in social, educational and cultural areas and services provided in society.

Health information at the Nordland fylkesbibliotek. Photo: Nordland fylkesbibliotekInformation literacy and health literacy

In Norway there is little mention of health information in the public libraries’ strategy plans and there is little mention of public libraries in the strategy plans of the health authorities.

The Salutogenic basic model. Illustration: Peter ThyboThe library plays an active part in issues of health care

Can the library contribute to public health apart from providing knowledge? Based on a wider health concept, public health services and the library in Ikast-Brande municipality are working together on creating increased quality of life and mental health for mentally vulnerable youngsters and adults.

Reading at the Rikhardinkatu Library in Helsinki. Photo: Susanne AhlrothReading, libraries and well-being

Reading is not only fun and invigorating, it also has many other positive effects on a person’s quality of life and well-being. One of the fundamental missions of public libraries has always been to support people’s reading habits and promote literature. A number of surveys pertaining to the use of the library have also indicated that libraries are still a significant part of people’s lives in precisely this way.

Editorial: The library as a ‘free zone’

Every now and then, we take a step back from our everyday assignments and become incredibly aware of the business we work in. Freedom of speech and freedom of opinion – that is what we work with. For me and many others, this has become even clearer over recent years in a Europe with acts of terrorism and refugees. The world is closing in on us, ever present in our daily lives – and democratic principles are put to the test.

The Swedish singer and last year’s winner of the Eurovision song contest, Måns Zelmerlöw takes a reading break. Photo: Therese Andersson/Blick bildbyråViewpoint: “May the force be with you”

Our challenge, school library colleagues, is already upon us. Time for story reading is disappearing. Before our very eyes the special, almost holy ‘story at bedtime’ ritual is slowly but surely being obliterated. So I say to you in school libraries everywhere “May the force be with you”. May we rise to meet the challenge that is facing us and may we emerge victorious.