BRIAN Cox has talked about the importance of libraries ahead of the launch of a campaign to promote reading.

Cox has shared a message of support with Dundee Libraries ahead of a celebration of the power of reading happening in Scotland this week called Keep the Heid and Read.

The campaign is being run by the Scottish Libraries and Information Council and is asking everyone to pledge six minutes to reading on Wednesday, May 11.

Cox told the new podcast Beyond the Bookshelf, launched by Dundee Libraries, that reading was important to him as a child growing up in the city.

He started by reading comics, moved on to books and is now an avid reader of the classics.

He said: “Reading stimulates your imagination in all kinds of ways and allows us to engage with language.

“Reading is about knowledge and how we discover things; we have the internet of course but there is nothing that compares to a good novel.

“Reading helps us understand our history, provokes thought and stimulates our imagination.”

Tanya Duthie, service manager (information services) at Leisure & Culture Dundee, said: “In his recent autobiography, Brian Cox talks about how important reading was to him as a child growing up in Dundee and into adulthood.

“As his book is newly published and because of his local connection and links to this campaign, we reached out to Brian to ask why reading is important to him and we were delighted to receive this response.

“It was really kind of him to take time to support us and we hope that it encourages everyone to pledge six minutes of reading on May 11.”

Pamela Tulloch, chief executive at SLIC, said: “This campaign was designed to highlight the positive impact reading can have on mental health and wellbeing, and the part local libraries can play in this process.

“Our ambition is to have as many people as possible, of all ages and abilities, reading anything, from newspapers and books to comics and recipe books next Wednesday to kickstart this healthy habit.

“As we approach the national reading moment (on May 11), it’s great to see so many people supporting the campaign and inspiring others to get involved.

“And you can still sign up and pledge your reading minutes at”