Our Reading Well work with libraries consists of two strands: Reading Well Books on Prescription and Reading Well Mood-boosting Books.
Reading Well Books on Prescription
Reading Well Books on Prescription helps you to understand and manage your health and wellbeing through helpful reading. The scheme is run by The Reading Agency in partnership with the Society of Chief Librarians with funding from Arts Council England and the Wellcome Trust. It is endorsed by health organisations, including NHS England and Public Health England, and delivered through public libraries.
There are three Reading Well lists currently available, for adult common mental health conditions, for people with dementia and their carers, and for young people's mental health. A fourth list, for people with long-term conditions and their carers, will launch in 2017.
Books can be recommended by GPs or other health professionals from the relevant Reading Well list. People can also choose a book from their local library without a professional recommendation. Reading Well is available in 97 percent of English public libraries where the books can be borrowed free of charge. They have been selected both by experts by profession and experience.
Reading Well Books on Prescription also helps people discover other library wellbeing services including Reading Well Mood-boosting Books and reading groups, and signposts to other sources of health advice and support. The programme has reached 635,000 people in its first three years.
Reading Well Books on Prescription for adult common mental health conditions
Reading Well Books on Prescription was launched in 2013 with a list for adult common mental health conditions including anxiety, depression, phobias and some eating disorders. It recommends 30 titles that provide helpful information and step-by-step self-help techniques.
Reading Well Books on Prescription for dementia
In January 2015, we launched Reading Well Books on Prescription for dementia, which provides help and support for people with dementia, carers of people with dementia and anyone who would like to find out more about the condition or is worried about symptoms. Borrowing of the dementia scheme core list has increased by 346% since its launch.
The booklist is divided into four categories: information and advice; living well with dementia; support for relatives and carers; and personal stories.
Reading Well for young people
In April 2016, we launched Reading Well for young people, which provides information and advice on mental health issues for 13 to 18 year olds. The book list contains information about issues like anxiety, stress and OCD, and difficult experiences like bullying and exams.
The Reading Well for young people books have been chosen by young people and health experts to help young people understand and manage their mental health and wellbeing.
There is evidence from the National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) that self-help reading can help people with common mental health conditions, such as anxiety and depression.
Recent research shows that people see their library as a safe, trusted and non-stigmatised place to go for help with, and information about, health problems.
Reading Well Books on Prescription is delivered in partnership with the Society of Chief Librarians as part of the Universal Health Offer for libraries. The young people's scheme is also delivered in partnership with the Association of Senior Children's and Education Librarians.
The scheme is supported by health partners including Alzheimer's Society, British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies, British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy, The British Psychological Society, Carers UK, Dementia UK, Innovations in Dementia, Mental Health Foundation, Mind, National Association of Primary Care, NHS England (IAPT and Children and Young People's Mental Health), Public Health England, the Royal Colleges of General Practitioners, Nursing and Psychiatrists ,and YoungMinds.
Get involved with Reading Well Books on Prescription
- Health professionals and users can find out more about the booklists on our Reading Well site.
- Librarians can find resources for running Reading Well Books on Prescription on our resources page.
- Print materials supporting Reading Well, including user leaflets and posters, can be ordered from our online shop
Reading Well Books on Prescription is delivered in 97 percent of English library authorities and has reached 635,000 people in its first three years. On launch, issues of the adult mental health scheme increased by 97%, while those for the dementia scheme increased by 346%.
- See the 2015/2016 evaluation of Reading Well Books on Prescription here
Reading Well Mood-boosting Books
Reading Well Mood-boosting Books is a national promotion of uplifting novels, non-fiction and poetry. They are crowd-sourced lists recommended by readers.
We suggest that people using the Reading Well Books on Prescription scheme may also like to try some mood-boosting fiction or poetry, but the books are not prescribed, endorsed or recommended by health professionals.
2016 Mood-boosting Books list
With a great range of fiction, non-fiction, poetry and short stories, the new Mood-boosting Books list for 2016 has something for everyone. Find out more about how the books were chosen and see the full list on Reading Groups for Everyone.
Macmillan Mood-boosting Books
We've worked with Macmillan Cancer Support to involve people with experience of cancer in creating two lists of mood-boosting titles. Most of these titles are not specifically about cancer, but have been recommended as books that people found mood-boosting during or after treatment. The list was promoted in Macmillan Information Points and libraries around the country.
Get involved with Reading Well Mood-boosting Books