Today, the National Book Council (NBC) donated a considerable amount of books to St Vincent De Paul Long Term Care Facility (SVP) in Luqa to launch the new mobile libraries at the facility’s dementia-friendly garden, Ġnien Ix-Xewqat Sbieħ. Over 200 Maltese books were donated to furnish the garden’s three phone box libraries in order to promote the therapeutic power of literature among SVP’s patrons.

Book donations provide significant opportunities for the NBC to promote local publications and to pursue its mission to ensure that different sectors of the Maltese public have access to books and reading. For this particular occasion, the NBC selected a variety of books predominantly written in the Maltese language — ranging from novels and poetry to history and reference books — with the aim of stimulating SVP patrons’ memory, as well as providing engaging literature for future reading sessions as part of their reminiscence therapy.

Inaugurated in May 2023, Ġnien ix-Xewqat Sbieħ is a therapeutic garden for persons with dementia, purposefully designed to improve their quality of life through various spaces and artefacts that provide sensorial experiences and aid recollection. This dementia-friendly garden also offers spaces where reading sessions can be held to help patrons rekindle their memory. Three phone box libraries, built by SVP employees and placed in prominent areas of the garden, were launched today in order to equip these spaces with reading material, which the patrons can share with visitors and volunteers alike.

The ceremony, which took place at Ġnien ix-Xewqat Sbieħ, was opened by by Parliamentary Secretary for Active Ageing within the Ministry for Health, Hon. Dr Malcolm Paul Agius Galea, who commended reading for the improvement of mental health. The public was then addressed by the NBC’s Executive Chairperson Mr Mark Camilleri with a brief comment highlighting the importance of making literature accessible to vulnerable communities in Malta. The Chief Executive Officer of SVP, Mr Jorgen Souness, was also present for the book donation and the launch of the libraries.

St Vincent De Paul would like to invite authors, publishers, organisations, entities or any other volunteers to host reading sessions for its patrons at Ġnien ix-Xewqat Sbieħ by emailing or calling 22912372.

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