New research just published shows how important reading is for blind and partially sighted people. The report, published by the Reading Agency (TRA) and Loughborough University (LISU) was commissioned by the RNIB and shows that reading for pleasure has a significant impact on the wellbeing, quality of life, social integration and learning opportunities of blind and partially sighted people.
A total of 294 blind and partially sighted people took part in the research and over 80% said that reading for pleasure was very important in their lives. For nearly 70% the main reason was that it made them feel good but it also provided learning opportunities (55%), reduced stress (44%) and provided an escape route into a fantasy world (40%).
The report also found that 95% of participants read for pleasure more than once
a week, with over half reading more than 10 hours per week. It reveals that reading plays a significant role in helping blind and partially sighted adults cope with life’s pressures,
engages them in meaningful activity that passes the time, occupies the mind, and represents a stimulating alternative to activities that are no longer easy or possible for them. The report also found that reading for pleasure also has a significant impact on learning and skills development for blind and partially sighted people.
Reading groups are also important: 65 per cent of those interviewed who were reading group members felt that one of the best things about belonging to a group was the opportunity to socialise. I suspect the same could be true of all reading group attendees, regardless of sighted ability.
An executive summary is available to download from the TRA website, along with the full report and separate case studies.
Not only is this a really useful report, but it also comes during the ‘Get reading, get better, get libraries’ (Get Libraries) campaign festival month in Wales. Following a successful launch with international rugby referee (and former sufferer of mental health issues) Nigel Owens, events have been taking place across Wales – check out the events calendar to see what’s coming up. The campaign is focusing on the benefits libraries can have on people’s health and wellbeing.
And, yesterday, the Welsh Government launched its first ever mental health strategy for Wales, with a detailed delivery plan. Libraries feature in section 15.10 and 15.11 of the delivery plan.
And, if you need more evidence of the important role libraries play in people’s health and wellbeing, check out the report by the Society of Chief Librarians Wales which was published in September 2012 which has loads of evidence and case studies on this topic.