Midlothian Library Service helps locals through pandemic with messages of kindness
Midlothian Library Service successfully supported its local community by delivering a special ‘kindness initiative’ during the pandemic, according to a new report published by The Carnegie UK Trust.
The kindness initiative at Midlothian Library Services involved crafting a cherry blossom tree with heart-shaped leaves on which staff, local groups and library users could write memories and messages of kindness on.
Annabel Cavaroli, library manager at Midlothian Council said: “Working with the Carnegie UK Trust on this project has been a wonderful opportunity for staff and the public to think about how our libraries help to nurture and support kindness throughout our communities.
"It’s enabled them to reflect and share on the things that have brought them joy over what’s been a very difficult year for us all.”
Over the last year, the Trust worked with 10 public libraries in Scotland including Midlothian Library Service, to provide support and funding to develop and deliver projects that encouraged people to think about kindness and to build better relationships with those around them.
Despite Covid-19 restrictions limiting the use of library buildings, the report highlights how libraries were able to adapt and innovate, creating opportunities for people to connect in different ways.
Sarah Davidson, CEO of The Carnegie UK Trust, said: “Libraries across Scotland have shown that small interventions underpinned by kindness can have a positive impact on people’s lives.
"It has been heartening to see libraries’ commitment to exploring the importance of kindness. This came when many communities most needed local togetherness and a sense of community spirit.
"These initiatives provide a template to inspire public libraries in Scotland to continue playing this vital role.”
The key finding from the Carnegie UK Trust initiative is that simple, low-cost interventions can have a real impact on wellbeing for library users, workers and the wider community. The report’s authors recommend that library services across Scotland should support their staff to think creatively about the role they can play in improving relationships in their local communities.