In praise of libraries

As  my health improves it has been great to catch up a bit with things that have been going on around the place while I have been out of action. One thing was World Mental Health Day, which happened on 10 October. I am sure there were heaps of activities that happened on that day all over the place, but I want to concentrate on the contribution of the Mental Health Library, staffed by my good pal Kathy and her colleagues Ros, Karen, Nikki and June (who have appeared briefly in these pages before) , who spend some of their time at the library at Glenside – which has long been home to a range of mental health services in SA. So, along with the sausage sizzle, yoga, tai chi, an appearance of Betty the therapy dog, and music (a band), the library had a stall with give away plants in little pots, chocolate frogs, aromatherapy (featuring lavender), colouring in pages, ideas for things to do on a ‘mental health day’ and books to give away on that theme. They were thrilled that everything went – and that those attending connected well with their stall.

I am struck by the importance of libraries as kinds of neutral spaces – places where people are not pathologised or separated off from others. I love Kathy’s attitude that everyone, everyone, has a right to access information and the assistance that libraries can provide – staff and workers certainly, but also ‘clients’ or ‘patients’ or just ‘the general public’ too. They can potentially be and often are places of peace and welcome for people who feel ostracised in the general run of things. It is so important that these kinds of spaces exist and it’s a shame that they are so rare. So, a big thanks to the library team for providing this welcoming, accepting and open approach, not just on World Mental Health Day, but every day.

Here are a few pics that Kathy Sent through of the day…

Library Betty the therapy dog

Betty the therapy dog

Library Nikki and June with Betty

June, Nikki and Betty the dog

Library staff at WMHD

Ros, Nikki, Karen and June – taken by Kathy so she isn’t in it!

Library table at WMHD

The library stall – note Everyone Welcome!

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2 Responses to In praise of libraries

  1. Mandy Laidlaw says:

    I agree…Librarys are the best!
    Often pop in but also find their online programs fantastic…Free!
    Staff are always so helpful and non judgemental…no matter the request ⭐
    Community spirit thrives through library programs..
    Thank you library staff and councils.

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