Public libraries in Wales are celebrating the Winter of Wellbeing campaign with three days of online national events this March (15-17). Schools and colleges across the country are being invited to tune in to join a fantastic line-up of authors and ambassadors who’ll be shining a light on the power of reading to help us cope in tough times and to connect us to others, through music, poetry, chat and debate.
The Winter of Wellbeing is the Welsh Government’s cross-sector seasonal campaign which has been working to help children and young people recover from the pandemic, and has seen thousands across the country welcomed into local libraries to discover all the magic inside, including – between the bookshelves – everything from yoga to mindful gardening, Lego clubs to creative writing workshops.
Eight events will take place online from Tuesday 15 March until Thursday 17 March with award winning Welsh authors discussing and debating how books can be your best friend, kindness and courage, Welsh myths and legends, the art of illustration, the power of listening and the magic of poetry. The range of topics hopes to captivate children and young people and help to showcase how reading and libraries can help them recover from the pandemic by connecting them to new ideas, new friends and others in their community.
The full programme includes:
An event with poet Alex Wharton
And authors Casia Wiliam, Manon Steffan Ros, and Horatio Clare, whose books were all nominated by children and young people in Wales for the Winter of Wellbeing booklist
(now available in libraries everywhere).
A special art workshop with illustrator Jackie Morris
Writer-director-performer Elgan Rhys who was behind the ground-breaking Y Pump box set of novels
(by young people for young people) will be putting a spotlight on the power of listening
An event on myths and legends with Bardd Plant Cymru, Casi Wyn
A chaired discussion, The Big Debate: Is it Relevant,
led by poet and creative Lead at Literature Wales, Marvin Thompson, discussing diversity in books.
Panellists including Connor Allen, poet, actor and Children’s Laureate Wales and author (YA books) Sita Brahmachari, human rights ambassador for Amnesty International.
“We hope that these national Winter of Wellbeing author events will encourage and attract the young people of Wales to our libraries, to read and engage with all the activities and entertainment inside. Your local library has so much to offer, it is a local hub for the community where young people can meet and take part, says Nicola Pitman, chair of the Society of Chief Librarians Cymru and library lead who has been working in partnership with The Reading Agency on the campaign.
“After the past two years of the COVID-19 pandemic we need to help our children and young people reconnect and what better way than joining your local library and see what’s going on.”
Karen Napier, CEO, The Reading Agency said: “We’re delighted to reveal this diverse national events programme taking place with public libraries as part of the Winter of Wellbeing campaign. From debate and poetry to illustration, there really is something for all young people to get involved in. These events really showcase the innovative and exciting work libraries do, particularly to support communities as we emerge from the pandemic.”
Deputy Minister for Social Services, Julie Morgan added:
“The Winter of Wellbeing libraries campaign has been instrumental in helping our children and young people re-engage with their communities, and support their emotional and mental wellbeing, as we recover from the pandemic. Reading is a great way our young people can develop their imagination and help them escape their worries or concerns. This initiative has put libraries back on the map and showcased what is on offer in your local library.
“I encourage everyone to go to their local library and hope many young people will take part in these virtual author events and take inspiration from the award winning authors.”
You can check out all the events taking place at the Winter of Wellbeing’s website www.readingagency.org.uk/winterofwellbeing. Here you can sign up for the Winter of Wellbeing national celebration events in March. All events are free – you simply need to register via Eventbrite.