A collective voice for literature and languages in Scotland

Keep the Heid and Read!

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.”

-ENDS-

Notes to editors

Issued by Clark on behalf of SLIC.  Contact Angela Hughes, angela@clarkcommunications.co.uk / 07970 184 198, or Joel Meekison joel@clarkcommunications.co.uk, 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

Board members wanted for Scottish Library Information Council (SLIC)

The Scottish Library and Information Council (SLIC) is seeking to appoint new members to its Board. The appointments are for three years and will run from November 2020.

SLIC is the independent advisory body to the Scottish Government on library and information related matters. It is a registered charity and an independent company. It is also a membership organisation representing the interests of public, academic, FE College and special interest libraries within Scotland. The organisation has been going through a period of growth, delivering a range of projects and initiatives on behalf of the Scottish Government and partner organisations.

SLIC particularly welcomes expressions of interest from individuals with experience in human resources and organisational development, although a general interest in libraries is also relevant.

Applications from marginalised groups, including disabled people and those from black and minority ethnic communities would be particularly welcome.

Download the SLIC Board Information Pack and find out more about SLIC by visiting the About Us pages.

Send a CV together with a brief statement outlining the reasons for your interest and what you would bring to the Board to the Chief Executive at applications@scottishlibraries.org no later than 12 noon on Friday 21 August 2020.

July 13, 2020

SLIC seeks new Board Members

The Scottish Library and Information Council (SLIC) is seeking to appoint new members to its Board. The appointments are for three years and will run from November 2019.

Information about the Scottish Library and Information Council

SLIC is the independent advisory body to the Scottish Government on library and information related matters. It is a registered charity and an independent company. It is also a membership organisation representing the interests of public, academic, FE College and special interest libraries within Scotland. The organisation has been going through a period of growth, delivering a range of projects and initiatives on behalf of the Scottish Government and partner organisations.

Board Responsibilities

The Board meets four times a year in addition to the AGM. Board members may be required to serve on a sub-committee which would involve a commitment of up to another three days. Board meetings alternate between Dundee and Glasgow.

The Board provides strategic direction and oversight. Major policy decisions are made at Board level drawing on information provided by the Chief Executive and senior management team. The decisions of the Board are actioned through the Chief Executive and senior management team of the organisation.

Further information about SLIC can be found on its website. 

Please note the appointments are on a voluntary basis.

Expressions of interest

SLIC particularly welcomes expressions of interest from individuals with experience in education, business, digital or entrepreneurial skills. Applications from groups which are currently under-represented including, disabled people and those from black and minority ethnic communities would be particularly welcome.

Expressions of interest should take the form of a CV together with a brief statement outlining the reasons for your interest and what you would bring to the Board. Interested parties will be asked to complete a short skills matrix to assist with the selection process.

Informal enquiries about Board membership can be made to Pamela Tulloch, Chief Executive on p.tulloch@scottishlibraries.org

Expressions of interest should be emailed to Pamela Tulloch, Chief Executive on p.tulloch@scottishlibraries.org no later than 12 noon on Friday 23 August 2019.

August 2, 2019

School Library Strategy development set for Autumn 2017

The Scottish Government is to start developing a School Library strategy this Autumn.

The news was confirmed in a recent response letter to the Public Petitions Committee regarding the ongoing petition by Duncan Wright, Trustee of Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals in Scotland (CILIPS), asking for a strategy as part of his ‘Save Scotland’s School Libraries’ campaign.

LAS welcomes the positive news and encouraging step forward in the Scottish Government’s response, which states:

“SLIC (Scottish Library Information Council) will lead the development of the strategy in collaboration with key partner organisations. The strategy will build upon the work undertaken by SLIC with Education Scotland to develop and integrate librarian-focused guidance into the main ‘How Good Is Our School 4’ (HGIOS4) whole school self-evaluation framework.

“Development and engagement on the strategy will begin in the autumn, following the publication of the new HGIOS4 guidance on school libraries.

“It is important that the aims, objectives and content of the strategy are developed in a collaborative way.

“The engagement to develop the strategy will therefore include all key stakeholders, including the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professional in Scotland (CILIPS) and the Association of Directors of Education in Scotland (ADES).

“The aim is for the final strategy to be agreed and published ahead of the 2018/19 school year. The detailed timetable for the work will be developed and agreed with SLIC during the course of summer 2017. Officials will also contact CILIPS and the petitioner himself in order to clarify the timetable and the process to develop the strategy.”
July 4, 2017