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Reading Well supports you to understand and manage your health and wellbeing using helpful reading. The books are all endorsed by health experts, as well as people with living with the conditions covered and their relatives and carers. You can be recommended a title by a health professional, or you can visit your local library and take a book out yourself.

There are currently four book lists available: Reading Well for mental health, Reading Well for dementia, Reading Well for young people and Reading Well for long term conditions.

A new list, Reading Well for children, will be launched in February 2020. Find out more about the new list here.

We have also launched Reading Well billingually in Wales, with funding from the Welsh Government. You can read more about this project in Welsh or English.

Reading Well was recognised by the Royal Society for Public Health as a finalist for the 2017 Public Mental Health and Wellbeing Award.

Evaluation and evidence base

There is a huge evidence base around the value of reading to support health and wellbeing, as well as the value of public libraries as a non-stigmatised space that is both welcoming and empowering for people seeking support.

Reading Well is evaluated each year to ensure that it continues to deliver positive outcomes. Health professionals, library staff and users are surveyed on their experiences of the programme, as well as information on reach being calculated through book loans and book sales data.

So far, Reading Well has reached over 1.2 million people and 90% of people surveyed found their book helpful.


Reading Well is delivered by The Reading Agency in partnership with Libraries Connected as part of the Libraries Connected Universal Health Offer. It is funded by Arts Council England and Welsh Government.

The programme is supported by:

• British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies
• British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy
• The British Psychological Society
• Mind
• National Association of Primary Care
NHS England through its Improving Access to Psychological Therapies Programme (IAPT)
• Royal College of General Practitioners
• Royal College of Nursing
• Royal College of Psychiatrists
• Mental Health First Aid England

Reading Well Books on Prescription for dementia is additionally supported by:

• Alzheimer’s Society
• Carers UK
• Dementia UK
• Innovations in Dementia

Reading Well for young people is additionally supported by:

• Mental Health Foundation
NHS England (Children and Young People’s Mental Health)
• Public Health England
• YoungMinds

Reading Well for long term conditions is additionally supported by:

• British Heart Foundation
• British Lung Foundation
• Carers Trust
• Diabetes UK
• Health Education England
• The IBS Network
• Self Management UK
• The Stroke Association

Reading Well for mental health is additionally supported by:

• Anxiety UK
• Carers UK
• Health Education England
• Mental Health Foundation
OCD Action
• Public Health England
• Royal Society for Public Health
• Self Management UK

Reading Well Mood-boosting Books

Reading Well Mood-boosting Books scheme is a national promotion of uplifting titles, including novels, poetry and non-fiction. The books are all recommended by readers and reading groups.

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.

Reading Well Mood-boosting Books is delivered by The Reading Agency, working with public libraries, NHS trusts and colleges throughout the UK.

We have also worked in collaboration with Macmillan Cancer Support to produce book lists recommended by people who have been diagnosed with cancer.