A lack of imagination is the worst kind of poverty”

Health and Libraries is a new initiative and has been a work in progress for many years. The project is led by Herefordshire based retired GP Dr Malcolm Rigler working in collaboration with Liverpool based Artists/Oral Historians The Sound Agents and Ian Morrell 65 High Street, Nailsea.

We are seeking stories from professionals with a background in Primary Health Care and Community Development to create an online library to link up with the creative arts and volunteer led libraries .

Pic Credit: The Sound Agents

Who we are

In 2015 Dr Malcolm Rigler and The Sound Agents led by Artists John Campbell and Moira Kenny delivered a symposium at Liverpool John Moore’s University to discuss ideas relating to Libraries on Prescription and collaborations between NHS and public libraries, mobile libraries and pop up libraries. 

Primary Health Care Professionals and Public and Mobile Library Staff attended to discuss potential  collaborations and the feasibility of a future joint Special Interest Group (SIG)  working with CILIP and the Royal Society for Public Health. 

This led to a further collaboration with Ian Morrell 65 High Street, Nailsea. Check out the blog for more information

Dr Malcolm Rigler

“I always wanted to do all I could to help patients to fully appreciate and understand the fragility and complexity of their own bodies, but I wanted this to go beyond biological facts and simple health education

The Sound Agents Limited

Artist Duo John Campbell and Moira Kenny work in collaboration with communities and organisations to give marginalised people a voice through Arts Engagement, Public Art and Events. 

Ian Morrell
65 High Street

65 High Street is a community building providing a friendly, informal space for people of all ages. Regular activities include: Digital Support/Cancer Cafe/Citizens Advice/Diabetes Group/Youth Group and more.

Born in Poole, Dorset Dr Malcolm Rigler became an NHS GP in 1973 in the Royal Forest of Dean having completed his medical training at Bristol University and subsequently working as a junior hospital doctor in Gloucester, Cheltenham and Hereford.He later led a multi disciplinary GP project in Balsall Heath , Birmingham whilst a Research Fellow , Birmingham University , Department of Theology and Religious Architecture. Later , during the 1980 and 1990s, his surgery Team at Withymoor Village Surgery (Dudley) took a creative arts approach to facilitating communication between doctors, patients, staff and the community to promote health and wellbeing. The various projects undertaken very soon led him to see the vital contribution the new digital technologies could make to health promotion and patient education. Widely regarded as a pioneer of arts and health work. Dr. Malcolm Rigler’s current focus is on libraries and health partnerships. 

“I see the most creative future for everyone involved in “arts and health” lies in the emerging “libraries and health” partnership developments that are now taking shape. It is only these developments that can satisfactorily address the widening digital divide that day by day leads to more and deeper divisions or “health inequalities” in our society. In fact I am now completely convinced that the GP and the Health Visitor within the NHS and Local Govt. have no enjoyable or creative future until the arts led “libraries and health” partnership work is understood, valued and firmly supported in every possible way by GPs , Health Visitors and Librarians across the whole of the UK. Health Visitors and Community Arts people are in a very strong position to lead this much needed transformation of Health Visiting , GP practice and Community Library Services”.

“My twenty four years as a family doctor have convinced me that many of the ‘medical’ complaints reported by patients are in fact the physical manifestations of social, psychological and emotional problems. 

To create a healthier nation we must start by encouraging inclusive and harmonious relationships in a society where so many find themselves socially excluded. The principal killers are not cancer and heart disease but lack of social support, poor education and stagnant economies. I am completely convinced that the GP within the NHS has no enjoyable or creative future until the arts led “libraries and health” partnership work is understood, valued and firmly supported in every possible way by both GPs and Librarians across the whole of the UK. Socially engaged artists are in a very strong position to lead this much needed transformation of both GP  practice and the Community Library Service. If we are to improve the nation’s health, a key role for a modern general practice team must be to act as an agent for social justice to build opportunities for social engagement through better education and skills training, improved social networks, and meaningful employment opportunities, including voluntary work”. Dr Malcolm Rigler 2016   

Web Design Audio/Visual/Photographic material unless otherwise stated © THE SOUND AGENTS All rights reserved 2016 

This project is created jointly by THE SOUND AGENTS & PARTNERS IN HEALTH (Midland) Ltd Contact: Thesoundagents@gmx.co.uk