East Renfrewshire residents are being encouraged to turn over a new leaf by embracing reading in an effort to boost their mental health.

People of all ages can pledge to read for just six minutes today as part of the new ‘Keep the Heid and Read’ initiative, designed to promote positive mental health and the importance of public libraries.

An online totaliser to count the overall reading time pledged by the nation has been launched and participants can enjoy anything from books and magazines to comics, graphic novels and blogs.

To get into the spirit of the initiative, East Renfrewshire Culture and Leisure staff and customers have been picking up books in unusual places, such as on an inflatable exercise mat on the water at a local swimming pool during a FloatFit class.

Scott Simpson, head of libraries and information services at ERCL, said: “We are excited to be part of this new initiative and to encourage readers in our local area to get involved in Keep the Heid and Read.

“Our staff across ERCL have set up dedicated reading spaces in our libraries.

“Reading can have such a positive impact on mental health and wellbeing and we have a wide range of free, accessible resources, reading spaces and support available across our ten libraries in East Renfrewshire.”

The reading campaign is being led by the Scottish Library and Information Council (SLIC), in partnership with the Mental Health Foundation, the Scottish Association for Mental Health (SAMH) and public library services.

Taking place during Mental Health Awareness Week, the idea was inspired by a growing recognition that libraries play a valuable role in supporting mental health and wellbeing by connecting communities.

For more information or to get involved, go online at keeptheheid.scot.