Healthy steps to the library
Helen O’Callaghan on why libraries are a great resource for children
IF you’re determined to keep your new year resolution to get the whole family healthier in 2019, make a trip to your local library a priority.
Healthy Ireland at Your Library, a Governmentled initiative launched before Christmas, is part of a national strategy to improve health and wellbeing by focusing on prevention, individual awareness and keeping people healthy for longer.
“Libraries get huge numbers through their doors each year and it’s not just for the issuing and returning of books,” says executive librarian with Meath Co Council Shauna Henry, who’s on the Healthy Ireland at the Library Committee.
“Libraries are seen as having information on different topics, so as a one-stop shop to promote health, they’re perfect.”
Titles include Eat Your Greens, Goldilocks: A Story about Eating Healthily and Julia Jarman’s Fussy Freda, a cautionary tale about fussy eaters. There’s also Maisy Learns to Swim from the Maisy First Experience Book series by Lucy Cousins. And with the rise in young children’s anxiety, the Mindfully Me series by children’s therapist/ mindfulness teacher Louise Shanagher is spoton and is the first set of mindfulness books directed at Irish primary schoolchildren aged four to eight.
Mindfully Me has three titles:
It’s Always There – ‘Come on a journey through cloudy days when you don’t feel so good and learn a secret trick to find your sunshine again’.
Where is Happy? ‘A quest to find Happy brings you closer to home than you ever could have imagined’. It encourages children to question whether external things like toys or sweets bring lasting happiness.
Look Who’s Here ‘Find out about your feelings and make some new friends along the way’.
Over 700 free health-related community events will happen in libraries nationwide as part of Healthy Ireland at Your Library in upcoming months. For example, child health-focused events taking place in January in Co Cork libraries include ‘Developing resilience, confidence and social skills in children’ by author of Bully-Proof Kids Stella O’Malley; ‘Internet Safety and Cyberbullying’ with Barnardos; and ‘Microbe Magic: learn about microbes and how to keep them happy’ – hands-on workshop for kids from APC Microbiome (UCC).
TREASURE TROVE: Picking the right book is key.