Read, Talk, Share; tackling loneliness and supporting mental health through the proven power of reading.

The Reading Agency have selected us as a partner to help deliver Read, Talk, Share, an initiative to combat loneliness and promote wellbeing through the proven power of reading during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Enabled by a £3.5 million award by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS), Read, Talk, Share will expand The Reading Agency’s ‘Reading Well’ and ‘Reading Friends’ programmes by tackling loneliness and supporting mental health and wellbeing.

As a partner we will be offering the Reading Friends reading befriending programme which starts conversations and connects people who are lonely and isolated to people who live, work or study in Hampshire.

Part of this programme will provide funding to expand our Home Library Service to enable volunteers to make calls to those customers who are members of the service. Our local libraries will also be reaching out to their communities, with trained facilitators running sessions on zoom to initiate conversations about books and reading.

The Digital Friends Facebook book group is now offering members a monthly facilitated call to discuss the book as part of the Read, Talk, Share scheme. In February members discussed City of Spies and were joined by the author Mara Timon. The book choice for March is 29 Seconds by T. M. Logan and he will be attending the zoom call on Wednesday 31 March. To join the group and participate in the discussions, please visit the Hampshire Libraries Facebook page.

We will also have a full set of books from The Reading Agency’s Reading Well booklist available to borrow from your library or download via BorrowBox. You can request books from the Reading Well booklist by reserving a specific book, or making a request through our Ready Reads, We Select, You Collect service.

If you would like to take part in one of the led zoom calls please contact us for more information about Read, Talk, Share and letting us know which is your closest library.

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