The Reading Agency and Barnsley Libraries are working together to tackle loneliness and isolation

As part of the Reading Friends project, Barnsley Libraries have received funding from The Reading Agency to build social connections in our communities and tackle loneliness and isolation through the power of reading.

Reading Friends aims to connect people by starting conversations through reading, give opportunities to share stories, make new friends and have fun. It also aims to get people talking by creating social connections and building on conversations based on people's interests and hobbies.

Carla Laughton, Reader Development Librarian at Barnsley Libraries, has said: "We are really looking forward to taking part in the Reading Friends Read, Talk, Share campaign over coming months.

"We will be working with partners to create a series of activities, including online reading sessions, where reading will be used as a catalyst to start conversations."

Cllr Jenny Platts, Cabinet Spokesperson for Adults and Communities, has said: "Libraries have a long-standing tradition of delivering activities which have a positive impact on our communities and their wellbeing. At this difficult time, it is more important than ever to keep connected and keep talking."

This campaign's focus will be connecting people who are vulnerable, isolated, and at risk of loneliness.

Karen Napier, CEO of The Reading Agency, has said: "We are immensely proud of our Reading Well and Reading Friends programmes and look forward to expanding their reach and impact by working in partnership with public libraries to aid the country's recovery in 2021."

For more information about a national Reading Friends campaign, please visit

Find out more about The Reading Agency's Read, Talk, Share campaign The Reading Agency's Read, Talk, Share campaign. 

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