“What’s with all the books around here?” 


It’s a question we answer regularly. Indeed, the halls of our building feature bookcases filled with free books. The books, stocked and managed by Literacy Volunteers Winchester Area, have significant health benefits that might surprise you.

A long-term health and retirement study (published by the National Institutes of Health in 2017) followed 3,635 adult participants for 12 years, finding that those who read books survived around two years longer than those who either didn’t read or who read magazines and other forms of media.

The study also concluded that people who read more than 3 1/2 hours every week were 23 percent likely to live longer than those who didn’t read at all.

Reading is very, very good for you. Research shows that regular reading:

  • improves brain connectivity
  • increases your vocabulary and comprehension
  • empowers you to empathize with other people
  • aids in sleep readiness
  • reduces stress
  • lowers blood pressure and heart rate
  • fights depression symptoms
  • prevents cognitive decline as you age
  • contributes to a longer life

Literacy Volunteers Winchester Area executive director Andy Gail shared more information about their free book initiative.

 “Our area is at or above the state level for literacy issues from those who are fully illiterate to those facing challenges with English, reading, writing, or technology. This increased rate has a far-reaching effect on the entire community. Literacy Volunteers Winchester Area helps improve our community’s literacy in many ways, from our dedicated volunteer Tutors’ work with adult students to the simple act of giving out free books to all ages.


LVWA has three bookcases in the waiting areas of 301 N Cameron, with all various genres of books for both adults and children. All of the books are donated by the community and available for all to come and take free of charge. Getting books into the hands of all ages in our community is an easy first step to help the community. Together we can all help ensure the future literacy rate in our area is not problematic.”

Studies show that it’s important for children to read as much as possible because the effects of reading are cumulative. However, health studies also show that it’s never too late to begin taking advantage of the many physical and psychological benefits waiting for you in the pages of a good book.

If you’d like to pick up a few books, visit us at 301 N Cameron Street in Winchester Mondays through Fridays, 9 am to 5 pm. The process is easy: you don’t need to check out or register with anyone to take books. Just find what interests you and enjoy!

To learn more about Literacy Volunteers Winchester Area, click here.

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