Libraries for Health & Wellbeing: social cohesion and reducing loneliness

Cory Greenwood
3 min readJan 24, 2023
Image courtesy of Mitchell Barkman Videography

The quality of our social connections and relationships are a critical part of our health and wellbeing. According to research from 2017, being lonely and socially isolated can pose a bigger risk for premature death than smoking.

Last month I wrote about the role of public libraries in reducing loneliness and have been investigating the various ways in which Victoria’s public libraries are already doing this important social work. My first spotlight is on Swan Hill Regional Library.


There’s far more knattering than knitting happening at the library on Tuesday mornings, which is the sort of outcome you should expect from a program like this.

Knitter-Knatter is a regular social event held in the library, developed to create opportunities for community members to socialise while knitting or crafting. It has expanded into tabletop games (like Scrabble) and other activities that encourage social interaction and, in turn, improve the mental health and wellbeing of their community.

“Since the program began, most of us have gotten to be really good friends; we all look out for each other.”

Many of Swan Hill’s older residents live alone, with a significantly larger proportion…