Libraries in East Renfrewshire have received a funding boost following the area’s success in a campaign to promote positive mental wellbeing.

Staff at East Renfrewshire Culture and Leisure (ERCL) backed a national reading initiative which encouraged people of all ages to ‘keep the heid and read’ by pledging to read for six minutes on May 11.

Pledges were added to an online totaliser which counted the overall time pledged by the nation as part of the initiative, which took place during Mental Health Week.

As a result of their efforts, the ERCL team has been praised for providing “outstanding service” and the Scottish Library and Information Council (SLIC), backed by support from investment management firm Baillie Gifford, has awarded local libraries a £500 book bundle.

Barrhead News: Claire Davidson and Lynne O’Neill took part in the ‘keep the heid and read’ initiative during their FloatFit classClaire Davidson and Lynne O’Neill took part in the ‘keep the heid and read’ initiative during their FloatFit class

This will be spent on new stock to complement the existing collections at libraries across the area.

Scott Simpson, head of libraries and information services at ERCL, told the Barrhead News: “We’re truly delighted to receive the book bundle boost for our libraries’ contribution to this national campaign and want to thank our customers, readers and staff from across East Renfrewshire for getting involved.

“Everyone is welcome to enjoy our free, accessible resources, reading spaces and support available across our 10 libraries in East Renfrewshire as we continue to support health and wellbeing through reading all year round.”

The reading campaign was led by SLIC in partnership with the Mental Health Foundation, the Scottish Association for Mental Health (SAMH) and Scotland’s 32 public library services.

The idea was inspired by a post-lockdown plea for public libraries to reopen and the growing recognition that they play a valuable role in supporting mental health and wellbeing by connecting communities.

Pamela Tulloch, chief executive at SLIC, said: “We want to thank ERCL for the enthusiastic way in which colleagues supported the reading moment and we are pleased to award libraries with a book bundle to recognise their outstanding efforts in supporting health and wellbeing.

“Getting lost in a good book is a highly-effective stress reliever and reading fiction, in particular, can inspire creativity and boost emotional intelligence, not to mention improve overall levels of literacy.

“The campaign also proved a great success as a way for people to reconnect with their local libraries.”

To find out more about the various library services provided by ERCL, visit