Northern Lights Editorial Issue 2

‘You can’t pour from an empty vessel,’ was one of my take home quotes from the It’s Great Up North conference in Harrogate recently, courtesy of Lisa Jenkinson’s wonderful talk Patients and patience. The NHS hasn’t always been great at looking after the health and wellbeing of its staff but things are changing and libraries are often at the forefront of this change. At East Lancashire Abbas Bismillah and his team worked with Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council to promote East Lancashire’s wellbeing collection, including over 100 Books on Prescription titles and their fiction collection at the Trust’s annual Health and Wellbeing event.

Many of us can vouch for the therapeutic effect of a good book. If nothing else we forget our troubles for a moment as we chuckle at PG Wodehouse or rush to find out who dunnit with an Agatha Christie or Stieg Larsson. Lancashire Teaching Hospitals encouraged people to get stuck into a good book last summer with their Summer Reading Journey campaign and got a bronze award at CILIP’s Publicity and Public Relations Group awards.

Other books tackle mental health in a more head-on fashion and are explicitly designed to help people as they struggle with depression, anxiety and other mental-health problems. Naomi Hay-Gibson, from Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust, discusses self-help literature, how it can help and what role libraries have to play.

Also tackling mental health, in a professional capacity, is Emma Dent, who did her graduate placement at The Curve, one of two libraries run by Greater Manchester Mental Health Trust. Emma’s placement turned out to be a case of remembrance of things past as she re-visited some childhood memories.

Self-help tends to focus on the individual but we all live in a complex network of interconnected relationships and collaborating at work can provide all sorts of professional and personal benefits. Sharing tips on training people how to use HDAS was Heather Steele, from Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust. Also co-operating were librarians at the Greater Manchester Health Library Partnership Event on the 14th May which featured the Universal Health Offer, the objectives of Public Health England, the role of NHS libraries, making the case for evidence-based patient information and a health-literacy workshop, among other things. And, finally, links were made between NHS and HE staff at Edge Hill University on the 17th May – judging from the pictures of the campus any stress caused by excess coffee consumption and the intricacies of the NHS/HE interface would have been more than compensated for by the lake and the ducks.

John Gale
Trust Librarian
Mid-Cheshire NHS Foundation Trust


Northern Lights Issue 2