Your Basket has been updated - Go to Checkout

Community & Library

Community And Library

Our impact

Community and library shared reading groups demonstrate wide-ranging impacts: improved health, wellbeing and quality of life; learning, skills and employability; strong and safe communities through social participation; economic benefit and value for money.

The need

  • 1 in 5 older people in the community suffer depression
  • In 2011, 29% of households consisted of one person living alone [Office for National Statistics]
  • In October 2011 to September 2012, 38.7 per cent of adults reported using a library service in the last 12 months, a 10% decrease from 48.2 per cent in 2005/06 [‘Taking Part’, DCMS]

Our aims

  • To combat isolation and engage people from different and hard-to-reach backgrounds together
  • To encourage people to enjoy reading and discover how it benefits their wellbeing
  • To build strong, mutually supportive communities who read together
  • To provide enjoyable, welcoming and meaningful activities within the community, inspiring people to engage in other local and city-wide activities

“Since I've been attending the reading group, my self-esteem has soared. I've felt able to speak out and put my opinion across about a book we are reading, what is going on in a chapter and what I think about a particular character in the book. I've gained independence. I've always enjoyed reading and I'm enjoying it more being in a group situation. I think it's very important to have reading groups, as they help those who feel isolated make friends and feel integrated into society.” - shared reading group member, Wirral Libraries

Outcomes

Our community and library projects reach a wide range of people of all ages, reading abilities and backgrounds, improving wellbeing, increasing social engagement and widening cultural horizons. 

Since joining a shared reading group in the community:

  • 69% of members use their library more regularly
  • 76% feel more positive about life

“It’s like therapy, a nice way of doing it, in a library surrounded by nice people. I like walking back home after the sessions, noticing nature and children smiling.” – Library group member, Wirral

  • 81% enjoy the opportunity to develop relationships with people from different cultural backgrounds
  • 84% are more likely to share books with friends and family members (including children and grandchildren)
  • 92% get greater pleasure from books and poems

“I’ve never read poetry before because I’ve never understood it. I like the poetry but we also come because it’s a positive group and we can chat and be social as a couple. You can’t always do that.” – Tiverton carer, Library Memory Group, Devon

  • 95% enjoy meeting people whom they wouldn't usually meet in my day-to-day life

Our Delivery Partners and Funders:

Wirral: Forum Housing, Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council

London: Tri-borough Library Service, Barnet Libraries

South West: Devon Library Service

National: Leicestershire County Council

What else?

We host events and courses in communities to extend our reach and to provide more opportunities for members – younger and older – to enjoy reading together. See our events and courses pages for more details. 

Nadia's Reader Story, Toxteth Library

How can I find out more?

Our community and library groups are delivered in pockets across the UK: in several London boroughs, Liverpool, Wirral, South West, North Wales and North East (Newcastle) and East Midlands (Leicester). To find out if there is one in your area please a look at our group map.

  • /media/17594/Media.jpg

    Merseyside Community Theatre

    Merseyside Community Theatre Alt Valley 2010 (MCT) was conceived as a pioneering community engagement project that would introduce reading, literature, team work and performance to a community with a high level of social and economic disadvantage.

  • /media/56464/nightperf1.jpg

    Wirral Community Shakespeare

    Wirral Community Shakespeare was conceived as an eight-month long reading project culminating in a run of free public performances of William Shakespeare’s The Winter's Tale over three nights in Birkenhead Park during August 2008. The play was to be performed and produced by a diverse and inter-generational cross-section of the community drawn from Get Into Reading groups and other agencies.

reader story

London

sign up to our newsletter

Get in touch

The Reader Calderstones Mansion House Calderstones Park Liverpool L18 3JB

Email: info@thereader.org.uk

Telephone:

Registered charity number: 1126806 Registered company number: 0660 7389

If you have any suggestions on how we can enhance The Reader experience for you, please get in touch by filling out our quick form. Thank you.