Students need school librarians and dedicated reading programs to enhance their mental health and wellbeing.
Not only does reading fiction help adolescents navigate personal and emotional development during their teens, but developing a reading habit can help to mitigate the disruptive effects of mental health throughout their entire lives.
What’s special about stories?
- Stories show us that it’s okay to fail, that mistakes are opportunities for learning, that courage isn’t an absence of fear, and that not everyone is as they seem.
- Stories help us identify and refine our values and ideals, show us what resilience looks like, help us to define our goals and encourage us to explore our emotions.
- Stories reflect and validate our lived experiences, help us to accept our past, help us to create order from our chaotic lives, and encourage us to be optimistic about the future.
- Stories comfort us, help us connect with others and make us feel less alone.
- Stories reframe our problems, help us create distance and see different perspectives, and nurture optimism, hope and self-efficacy.
- Stories promote empathy and compassion, remove stigmas and stereotypes, help us to embrace diversity and show us a wider view of normal.
- Stories introduce us to ancient wisdom and create intergenerational connections.
- Stories help us to understand our world, help us to recognize the importance of our own life story as part of a bigger picture and help us to be more accepting of ourselves.
- Stories give us answers to questions we don’t know how to ask.
- Stories stimulate our imagination.
- Stories give us role models to inspire us to persevere and improve, to empower us to speak out, to join in celebrating the successes of others, and to help us to be grateful and accepting of ourselves.
- Stories give us the insight, the language and the confidence to seek help when we need to share our concerns or can’t manage alone.
- Stories are not only the easiest way but sometimes the only way to learn about ourselves, and find our place in the society and the world we inhabit, from a safe and secure place.
Who can ensure our students are learning these things if not the teacher librarian?
Why is a Teacher Librarian is the best person to implement
- Teacher Librarians love to talk about books and
- Teacher Librarians provide guidance, encouragement opportunities for learning without grades.
Books do not judge and neither should librarians – in Developmental Bibliotherapy activities there are no wrong answers.
Developmental Bibliotherapy occurs when
Young People recognize that a change has taken place
in their Thoughts, Feelings, Actions or Beliefs.
Implementing Developmental Bibliotherapy is about asking the right questions to help this self reflection to take place. It can take as little as fa few minutes as an informal chat, or it can be developed into a unit of work.
Whether as an informal chat, recalling an event or quote from a novel, creating a piece of artwork or writing a book review, Developmental Bibliotherapy is almost certainly taking place in every library wherever a skillful teacher librarian is talking to young people about the books they are reading.
If an activity results in the reader reflecting and articulating a positive change
in their Thoughts, Feelings, Actions or Beliefs
then Developmental Bibliotherapy has been in action.
Although reading fiction is not a panacea, by showing young people a wider view of normal, by allowing them to explore their emotions and their identity alongside fictional heroes, by removing stigmas and stereotypes and by giving them the language and the confidence to seek answers from trusted adults, Developmental Bibliotherapy programs gives students skills that can promote better mental health outcomes throughout their lives.