Reading Well Scheme

Available from English public libraries from July 2017, the Reading Well scheme aims to provide millions of patients, carers and the general public with the tools to better understand and confidently self-manage their conditions.

The Reading Agency, the national charity inspiring people to read for pleasure and wellbeing, and The Society of Chief Librarians have launched a new strand of the acclaimed Reading Well Books on Prescription programme into English libraries. The new scheme focuses on supporting those living with long term conditions such as arthritis, bowel conditions, diabetes, heart disease and stroke.

The new 28 title book list of health information, self-help and memoir has been developed by the charity and expert partners to offer guidance and factual support to those living with illness and their carers. Research shows that people see their library as a safe, trusted and non-stigmatised place to go for health information. Between the pages of the recommended books, people living with long term conditions can find answers to some of the questions that may be on their minds - from dealing with pain, fatigue and sleeping problems, to relationships and mental health and wellbeing.

A recent survey revealed that people are almost as likely to use search engines to access health advice as they are to visit their GP. With a huge amount of misinformation on the internet, Reading Well provides an alternative trusted source of information and advice that people can feel confident accessing.

Created with the support of a number of leading health organisations and those with lived-experience of the conditions featured, the booklist offers an accredited medical alternative to the infamous Dr Google.

Health professionals such as GPs can recommend books to patients they are treating with long term conditions or people can self refer using the recommended book lists. All the books are available in English public libraries.

The Reading Well for long term conditions book list was created as part of Society of Chief Librarians' Public Library Health Offer, with funding from Arts Council England and Wellcome.

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