For Coventry library service, not only does Reading Well contribute to the health and wellbeing of library users, it has also opened doors to new local health and charity partnerships.
"Reading Well has given us the opportunity to link with health services in our city"
In Coventry, the Reading Well for mental health scheme has kick-started partnerships with local public health teams and individual health professionals willing to advocate for the library health offer. Dr Jane Fowles got involved after attending one of the library's presentation events has since been the bridge between GPs and the Coventry library service team.
"When Dr Jane Fowles understood the value of the collection she opened many doors. Including helping us to build links with Coventry and Rugby Clinical Commissioning Group."
Thanks to these new partnerships, Reading Well will be featured in the region's Year of Wellbeing campaign in 2019, coordinated by Coventry and Warwickshire Health and Wellbeing Boards. The campaign will aim to raise the profile of successful health and wellbeing services in the region, making Reading Well the perfect candidate.
Building arts and community partnerships
Coventry library also works with local charities and community organisations to maximise the impact of the Reading Well programme. For example, it has loaned out the book collections to Change Grow Live, a drug and alcohol support charity for young people, as well as local community theatre programme for over 50s Arts Gymnasium, both of which house collections in their public spaces.
Over the years, Coventry library service has been able to develop and maintain trusted relationships with partners. This is thanks to the effective combination of a sustained networking effort and the versatility of the Reading Well collections available.
"Our discussions with partners start by finding a common ground, we identify how Reading Well will be able to support their objectives and move onto further discussions about the best way to promote and market the scheme through their organisation."
Promotion and engagement
As part of its outreach strategy, Coventry library has created diverse and targeted promotional materials for Reading Well, including YouTube videos and newsletters.
It also utilises its local health partnerships to promote the scheme as part of national awareness days and campaigns, such as by inviting local organisations to hold information stalls at events for World Mental Health Day and Dementia Action Week. This is consolidated by a solid social media presence.
Reading Well is a mutually beneficial partnership for Coventry library and its health partners alike. For Coventry and Rugby Clinical Commissioning Group, the scheme sits comfortably within the health department's overall strategy of prevention and self-care through creating stronger and more resilient communities.
For GPs, Reading Well is useful for patients who are on a waiting list for treatment.
"We are signposting and making sure all the information and pathways to self-help are out there. We want to keep on reminding people that there is a programme well-embodied in our system."
The fact that Reading Well is recognised by professionals as a quality assured programme plays an important role in the perception of the schemes among partners and library services.
"The fact that the scheme has been selected and endorsed by specialists gives us the confidence to recommend these books when people need."
- Explore resources to support health professionals and library staff to run the scheme