As well as promoting Reading Well in local healthcare settings, Lewisham libraries use the scheme to complement health activities within the library, such as displaying books and leaflets at a wellbeing-themed World Book Night event and as part of a fortnightly health lecture series initiative.
Lewisham library service has been signed up to Reading Well since the first list was launched in 2013, and stocks all four booklists across the borough. It has emphasised the importance of the expert endorsed scheme in helping to achieve Lewisham Council's strategic priority of ensuring communities are healthy, active and enjoyable places where people can actively participate in maintaining and improving their health and wellbeing.
"Health and wellbeing of residents is a priority of the council and we have a duty to support wherever we can. The fact that The Reading Agency is providing booklists and promoting books that are approved by health professionals is really good, because we're not health experts. We need that sort of input."
Health sector engagement
Lewisham libraries has forged links with local health professionals through Reading Well, distributing the scheme's leaflets to GP surgeries and spreading awareness at Lewisham Hospital which now holds the Reading Well collections.
Reading Well books have also been used to complement an exciting new health and wellbeing initiative within the library setting. In September 2017, Lewisham libraries started a health lecture series, where health professionals are invited to deliver free lectures at the library on a fortnightly basis. Relevant and available Reading Well stock is selected to complement a particular lecture as a way of offering further reading and resources. So far the topics have covered cancer, diabetes, and Alzheimer's disease, among others.
"At the lecture whilst the books are on display we do have members of audiences who'd look at the books and be interested. Reading Well complements the health lectures and we try to promote the Reading Well stock that way."
Alongside the lectures, Lewisham holds promotions of Reading Well throughout the year, producing book displays and bringing in partner organisations, such as Mind and local goverment public health teams. For example, in May 2018 Lewisham library promoted the Reading Well collections as part of a World Book Night event. Working with the theme of wellness, they organised short lectures on healthy eating and mindfulness with a huge array of books on display.
Lewisham libraries have highlighted how the carefully chosen topics covered on the lists meet the needs of their customers:
"Reading Well covers areas which we always have high demands for, e.g. dealing with stress and anxiety, eating healthily and eating disorders... we can never have enough books on these subjects."