This month, we join the celebrations of our much-loved libraries. Libraries Month has started in Canada as well as Libraries Week in the UK and we take our pledge to support libraries.
Why go to the library?
A library is a place of therapy and wellbeing. Mentally stimulating activities such as reading have been shown to keep the brain sharp and healthy. Furthermore, previous research using brain scans discovered that wellbeing is enhanced more by places than objects, as written by the Guardian in their article here. That is because people experience feelings of contentment from places more than from objects.
Thus, the library can ensure the wellbeing of the local community through its spaces, atmosphere, and collection of books. Libraries are full of books where knowledge is passed down to readers in the quietness of the halls.
How can reading ensure the community’s wellbeing?
Literary fiction has been shown to bestow its readers with a stronger sense of empathy. When reading literary fiction, we are engaging with the story characters’ perspectives, emotions, motivations, goals, and personalities. Similar to how we learn to understand the characters in the story, we can transfer these skills to real life. We become better at reading people’s emotions and understanding where they are coming from. Those who are empathetic are better at relationships and tend to have more friends.
Reading Shakespeare, Wordsworth, Dickinson, and other complicated poetry has been shown to stimulate the brain in ways that uncomplicated poetry cannot. Areas affected include the left part of the brain associated with language and the part in the right hemisphere associated with autobiographical memory and emotion. Complex poetry is, therefore, an experience that merges the emotional and autobiographical with cognition.
Regular readers will acquire more worldly knowledge and develop a better vocabulary. Those who read tend to write better too. In fact, writers often read other writers they admire in order to improve their own writing.
Books are powerful. Some have changed the world. Some are so controversial that there are bans against them.
Check out this interesting infographic from Global English Editing where you can read the 9 science-backed ways reading makes you smarter and ensures your wellbeing.
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