Books on prescription

Published on: 30 Jun 2013

LIBRARIES in Downend, Staple Hill and Mangotsfield have launched a range entitled Books on Prescription.

It is part of a national scheme championed by South Gloucestershire that uses reading to help an estimated six million people in England who suffer from conditions such as depression and anxiety. There are 30 Reading Well Books on Prescription titles available to borrow from libraries including topics such as anxiety, depression, phobias, panic attacks, bulimia and sleep problems.

As part of the scheme, GPs and other health professionals working in the area can recommend people come to their library and borrow a book from the collection where appropriate.

Councillor Claire Young, chairwoman of the communities committee, said: “Being able to go to your local library and access these titles can be the first step on the road to recovery for some residents.” Mark Pietroni, director of public health for South Gloucestershire, added: “With so many people experiencing mental health issues, the Books on Prescription scheme is an important option to help people work through the issues with a recommended self help book. 

People can either be recommended a book by a health professional or pick up a book at their convenience when visiting the library. Reading Well Books on Prescription is not designed to replace existing care, but can be a useful addition to pharmacological or psychological treatment, or a first step to recovery for the millions of people who are suffering in silence at the moment.”

Library staff have also been at the forefront of an initiative to improve access to books for blind and partially-sighted people.

They are able to advise on what is available in large print and via technology as well as in audio formats.

Gill Clayton, librarian at Emersons Green Library, said: “Libraries can play a part in helping people with visual impairments. Whether you like to read books, newspapers or magazines, losing your sight does not mean you have to stop reading and enjoying your favourite authors.”

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