Keep the Heid and Read! online totaliser launched to capture Scotland-wide support
Scotland’s Makar, Kathleen Jamie, is one of the first people in the country to pledge their support for the Keep the Heid and Read! campaign, which launched today (Mon 11 Apr).
Joining some of the country’s most influential individuals and organisations, including the Institute of Directors and the SPFL Trust, in pledging to take part in the ‘national reading moment’ on Wednesday 11 May, the Makar was happy to help drive awareness of the project.
The Scotland-wide initiative, led by the Scottish Library and Information Council (SLIC) in partnership with the Mental Health Foundation and the Scottish Association for Mental Health (SAMH) and with support from Baillie Gifford, aims to inspire and encourage people of all ages and abilities to read every day to boost their mental health and wellbeing – starting with a pledge to read for just six minutes on11 May.
Research shows that reading for six minutes a day can reduce stress by 68 per cent – in people of all ages. With the national reading moment due to take place during Mental Health Week 2022 (9-15 May 2022), the campaign signals the perfect opportunity to take stock and establish a regular reading habit.
Kathleen Jamie, the national poet for Scotland (2021-2024), said: “Our local libraries are full of great reading material – books of course, but also comics and pamphlets of poetry, so they are the perfect places to release the imagination, whatever your ability and interests.
“Reading for pleasure can have a huge impact on our wellbeing. I read every day, often early in the morning to set me up for the day, so I’m glad to support the Keep the Heid and Read campaign. I’ve pledged my six minutes of reading on 11 May and would encourage everyone else to do the same.”
An online totaliser, capturing the number of reading minutes pledged towards the national reading moment, is available at: www.keeptheheid.scot.
Speaking about the inspiration behind the Keep the Heid and Read! campaign, Pamela Tulloch, chief executive at SLIC, said: “This campaign was designed to promote the positive and easy-to-implement changes which can help increase mental health and wellbeing, and highlight the part local libraries can play in that process.
“We believe starting with a simple pledge to read for just six minutes on 11 May will help inspire people to take forward these good habits in their everyday lives.”
Working in partnership with Scotland’s 32 public library services, SLIC hopes the free to use services across Scotland will encourage as many people as possible to get involved in the Keep the Heid and Read! campaign.
Pamela added: “Libraries play a valuable role in reconnecting communities and with the majority of libraries now reopened across Scotland after the pandemic – all with an abundance of free reading materials available – we hope these services will allow people all over Scotland to take part in the national reading moment.”
Individuals and groups, such as schools and workplaces, are invited to sign up now to get involved at www.keeptheheid.scot, and add to the totaliser count. Gaelic translated ‘Na bi ga do chall fhèin, leugh!’ campaign materials are also available in full. Keep up-to-date and share your support using #keeptheheid on social media.
For media enquiries please email SLIC@3×1.com or call 0141 221 0707.
Reproduced from the SLIC press release.
April 11, 2022
On World Book Day (3 March 2022), a new Scotland-wide reading initiative has been announced to inspire and encourage people to read every day to boost their mental health and wellbeing.
A national reading moment, called ‘Keep the Heid and Read!’, will take place on Wednesday 11 May, during Mental Health Week (9-15 May 2022). Readers of all ages and abilities are encouraged to pledge to read for just six minutes on 11 May – and they can read anything, from books and magazines to comics, graphic novels and blogs.
An online totaliser to count the overall reading time pledged by the nation will be launched next month (April), and people can sign up to get involved.
The reading campaign is led by the Scottish Library and Information Council (SLIC) in partnership with the Mental Health Foundation, the Scottish Association for Mental Health (SAMH) and Scotland’s 32 public library services.
The idea was inspired by the post-lockdown plea for public libraries to reopen and the growing recognition that libraries play a valuable role in supporting mental health and wellbeing by connecting communities.
It is taking place during Mental Health Week because of the known mental and emotional health benefits of reading. Research shows that reading for just six minutes a day can reduce stress by 68 per cent*. Establishing a regular reading habit has the biggest impact on mental health and wellbeing.
Pamela Tulloch, chief executive at SLIC said: “The reading moment came about from an awareness that people have missed their libraries during the pandemic, coupled with the joy and benefits people gain from reading. It is the most popular cultural activity people undertake and, during the COVID-19 lockdown, reading was the nation’s most popular pastime.
“We want everyone to get involved on 11 May by pledging to read for six minutes. It is a great way for people to reconnect with their local libraries, which offer an abundance of free reading material and library staff can make recommendations based on reading ability and interests. Getting lost in a good book is a highly effective stress reliever and reading fiction, in particular, can inspire creativity and boost emotional intelligence, not to mention improve overall levels of literacy.”
Chris O’Sullivan, Head of Communications and Fundraising at Mental Health Foundation in Scotland, said: “We’re delighted to support ‘Keep the Heid and Read’. Local libraries are a fantastic source of support in our communities and we hope that every person in Scotland has, and continues to have, access to the world of books, social connection and services they offer. We know that reading has many benefits for our mental health; it can bring us joy, help us to relax and it can help alleviate the symptoms of stress, anxiety and depression. We encourage everyone to take part in the six minute reading event during mental health week and develop a reading habit.”
Culture Minister Neil Gray said: “Reading books for pleasure can have a huge impact on our wellbeing so I’m delighted to support this Scotland-wide reading initiative.
“Our libraries have a vital role to play in reconnecting communities and promoting health and well-being as we recover from the pandemic.
“I’ll be pledging my six minutes of reading on 11 May and would encourage everyone else to pick up a book to do the same to support their local libraries.”
Notes to editors
Issued by Clark on behalf of SLIC. Contact Angela Hughes, email@example.com / 07970 184 198, or Joel Meekison firstname.lastname@example.org, 07921 687 626
- The reading pledge sign-up and online totaliser will be online at keeptheheid.scot from mid-April
- *Study conducted by researchers at the University of Sussex: Dr. David Lewis “Galaxy Stress Research,” Mindlab International, Sussex University (2009)
- SLIC is the independent advisory body to the Scottish Government on library matters scottishlibraries.org
Reproduced from SLIC’s press release.
March 5, 2022