CILIPS Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals in Scotland
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Case Study – Reading Ahead

Case study provided by Amanda Minns, Knowledge Services Manager, NHS Lanarkshire

Project outline: 

Reading Ahead is part of a national programme designed to help encourage adults to read and improve their literacy. Run through The Reading Agency, Reading Ahead can be used within organisations to help develop both the literacy skills and the enjoyment of reading among staff. Participants are asked to choose and rate 6 reads – these can include newspapers, magazines and websites as well as books. 2017 is the third consecutive year that NHS Lanarkshire has delivered the Reading Ahead programme. having won the bronze award in year one. We have also received generous support from Unison and Healthy Working Lives to support our project. The overarching goals of Reading Ahead within NHS Lanarkshire are to:- 1. Encourage an enjoyment of reading amongst staff, in particular those new to reading for pleasure or those who have fallen out of the reading habit. 2. Tackling health inequalities and improving health information literacy. 3. Increase usage of NHS and public libraries by challenge participants 4. To support and enhance participants health literacy, mental health, and the well-being of challenge participants This year we have 112 people – including our Chief Executive – signed up to the challenge. Each participant received an induction pack and diary at the launch on the 14th February, and are asked to record their progress using their diary which is signed off by library staff after each read and a small prize awarded. A monthly newsletter is distributed to all participants this year, and this new feature enables participants to share their thoughts on their reads – good or bad. A drop in closing event has been organised for the end of August, and participants will be able to hand in their diary and collect their completion certificate.

Quotes from service users: 

“I’ve enjoyed the challenge. Reading a couple of books by new authors has allowed me to go out of my comfort zone with the authors I normally go for. Bring on next year!!!”

“I like the fact that reading is recognised as a positive skill and that reading is encouraged amongst NHS staff.”

“I used to read voraciously and then life got in the way! I’ve enjoyed the challenge & enjoyed reading books I wouldn’t have read in the past even if they were difficult at times to read.”

“I read books & authors I normally wouldn’t think about reading.”

“I enjoyed reading books and the challenge. It was also great to meet the librarians in Wishaw as I wouldn’t normally have done so. Very nice people and after this challenge I would go there if needed in future. Will defo do [the next] challenge.”

Quote from staff member: 

“This project was important as it helped us engage with staff who may not normally use Knowledge Services. It allowed us to introduced a different type of service and reach everyone within the board. Taking time out of your day to read is hugely beneficial for the mental health of staff.”