The Latest in Happiness Studies: Go to the Library!

Laura Carroll, LiveTrue Books

With all the happiness studies out there (for example, recall the all the hubbub about who’s happier, parents or the childfree?), here’s a new one related to book lovers – more specifically library goers. Check this out.

NPR Books News by Annalisa Quinn has an interesting blurb today titled, “Happiness Study Says Library Trips Are As Good As A Pay Raise”:

“Going to the library gives people the same kick as getting a raise does — a £1,359 ($ 2,282) raise, to be exact — according to a study commissioned by the U.K.’s Department for Culture, Media & Sport. The study, which looks at the ways “cultural engagement” affects overall well-being, concluded that a significant association was found between frequent library use and reported well-being. The same was true of dancing, swimming and going to plays. The study notes that ‘causal direction needs to be considered further’ — that is, it’s hard to tell whether happy people go to the library, or going to the library makes people happy.”

From the report:

The aims of the analysis were to:

  • Identify the impacts of culture and sport engagement on individuals’ well-being
  • Estimate monetary values for those well-being impacts using the Wellbeing Valuation approach.

The results in a nutshell:

  • Arts engagement was found to be associated with higher well-being, and was valued at £1,084 per person per year, or £90 per person per month.
  • A significant association was also found between frequent library use and reported well-being, and was valued at £1,359 per person per year for library users, or £113 per person per month.
  • Sport participation was also found to be associated with higher well-being, and was valued at £1,127 per person per year, or £94 per person per month.

I find the library engagement results especially refreshing in today’s digital times. People do still go to the library, and it makes them feel good. I have many memories from my youth of being in the library. There was college when I studied there – for hours. That was not always fun…but other times, the quiet, the feel of an interesting book, walking down book-filled aisles…there truly was something about it that lifted my spirit.

What memories do you have of being in the library when you were young? What is your experience of going to the library now?

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