Residents are being encouraged to open up and have a ‘braw blether’ as Midlothian libraries are set to offer a groundbreaking bibliotherapy service.
The first of its kind in Scotland, the new service is free to library goers and uses books, stories and reading to make people feel better about themselves and others.
The project is due to kick off on Monday and aims to encourage people to use the ideas from books, stories and poems to discuss feelings, emotions and issues.
It also aims to promote the enjoyment of reading for those with mental health problems.
At any one time up to one in five adults in the UK can feel alone, stressed or struggle to cope with life but evidence shows using reading improves confidence, self-esteem and interpersonal skills.
Working with partner health and social care agencies, the council is offering this service in Dalkeith Library in the first instance with plans to expand to other libraries in the near future.
The first group will run on Mondays 1.30pm to 3pm from Monday, October 13 in Dalkeith Library. A second session is also planned weekly from Tuesday, October 14 between 11am and 12.30pm at Mayfield Library.
People can join the groups or be refereed by a health professional or support person can do it on their behalf.
Sessions usually last for around an hour and a half and to get the chat going there’s usually a short story, poem, newspaper article, picture or poem to discuss with the group.
Councillor Owen Thompson (SNP), cabinet member for libraries, said: “Once again, our libraries are at the forefront of offering a range of unique services and events.
“This is an excellent service encouraging people to read, socialise and have a braw wee blether and I wish our library team every success in delivering this excellent initiative.
“Libraries continue to offer a range of innovate services, and it’s great to see that we’re one of the first in Scotland to offer such an important and confidence-boosting service.”