Camden libraries join national initiative to tackle loneliness during winter

Camden Council libraries in partnership with Age UK Camden are hosting a series of online reading events to help tackle loneliness and support mental health during the pandemic this winter.

Throughout February and March, Camden libraries together with Age UK Camden, are running a number of online ‘Reading Friends’ groups, including groups for people to discuss local history, articles, books and poetry as well as story time sessions and knitting groups.

The events are part of a national initiative called ‘Read, Talk, Share’ run by the Reading Agency and aims to support those who might feel isolated within their communities through the power of reading. The national programme has been enabled by a £3.5 million award to the Reading Agency by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS).

In January 2021, the Council was awarded £10,000 from the Reading Agency to help fund this project to get people together and help them stay connected.

The partnership between Age UK Camden and Camden Libraries will also provide support to help people access e-books from our digital library as well as provide e-reader loans and skills training to older people as part of the Council’s ongoing digital inclusion work.

Camden Libraries and Age UK Camden will also be talking to older residents one to one to signpost them to the Camden digital library, Home Library Service and other local book, poetry and knitting groups.

This winter has been especially tough for our residents, with many finding themselves alone for long periods of time or feeling isolated as a result of this awful pandemic. That’s why it’s important we find ways to support residents who are most at risk or are feeling alone during this time. This is a really fantastic initiative which will hopefully make a real difference as not only does reading bring people together, but these events will help make people feel more connected to their community during lockdown.
Cllr Anna Wright, Cabinet Member for Promoting Neighbourhoods and Communities
We're delighted to be working in partnership with Camden Council to deliver the Reading Agency's 'Read, Talk, Share' initiative. The benefits of reading as well as contact with others is well known to support people’s health and wellbeing. This project will provide opportunities for individuals to be introduced to a diverse range of reading material and to link with others to share their thoughts on it.  With more older people in Camden finding themselves alone, and for a longer period these 'Read, Talk, Share' groups and services will provide vital support and engagement at a time when people need it most.
Nikki Morris, CEO of Age UK Camden

Activities will start from the week of the 15 February and include a knitting group, a reminiscence group exploring photos and texts from our archive and ‘Read, Share, Talk’ reading aloud sessions with older residents as well as Storytime sessions for children and adults.

For more information about the dates and times of groups and how to join visit our website.

Membership of Camden’s libraries is free to all. To join go to

You can find out more about The Reading Agency's Read, Talk, Share campaign here.