Libraries as therapy
Valmiera municipality, Latvia
Challenge team: Vaidava Parish Library and Vaidava Parish community (with Rencēni and Vecate)
Population of Vaidava, Rencēni and Vecate: 2,590
Summary: Three village libraries and their local communities in rural Latvia are co-developing a well-being therapy programme to help empower local residents and improve their wellbeing.
Three local libraries in Vaidava, Vecate and Rencēni from three different administrative rural territories of Valmiera municipality in Latvia are working together with the local community to address a huge increase in depression, fear and loneliness following the Covid-19 pandemic, which has been exacerbated by anxieties over the war in Ukraine.
In response to these findings, the three libraries and their local communities are co-developing a well-being therapy programme to help empower local residents and improve their wellbeing. The challenge team has introduced an initiative called ‘Empower Yourself, Empower the World’ that incorporates three different group therapies – art therapy, dance therapy and bibliotherapy – that is available to the three village communities involved in the challenge.
Before launching their initiative, the library and local community started a discussion based around the question ‘Why is a Library Needed’? They found that local residents perceived the library as a community centre and appreciated the activities offered by the libraries.
The residents of the three communities will work together with experts and share their newly acquired skills. Their ambition is to share their prototype to help establish a sustainable network of therapeutic libraries across Latvia and beyond.
The challenge team said: “When the local village library challenge has become a Europe Challenge, it has turned into a really inspiring adventure.”
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