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What is the Reading Well Books on Prescription scheme?

It is a scheme to help you use reading to understand and manage your health and wellbeing. The scheme is endorsed by health professionals and supported by public libraries in England. There are currently five book lists available: Reading Well for mental health, Reading Well for young people, Reading Well for children, Reading Well for dementia, and Reading Well for long term conditions.

How are the books chosen?

The books have all been recommended and endorsed by health professionals and have been tried and tested by people with experience of living with the conditions.

Who recommends the books?

A GP or other health professional may give you a Reading Well Books on Prescription leaflet and recommend one or more of the titles on the accompanying form. The book should be available to borrow from your local library.

Do I have to share my recommendation with library staff?

You do not have to share your recommendation, but library staff are always ready to help you find and borrow any books. Sharing your recommendation form with staff also helps us learn more about how people are using the scheme. All library book loans and borrower details are confidential.

Can I borrow a book without a recommendation?

Yes. The books are all available for anyone to borrow from the library. You do not need to have a recommendation from a health professional.

How do I use the book once I have borrowed it?

You might choose to read the whole book or focus on the parts that seem most relevant to you. This might be a discussion you have with a health professional.

We have produced overviews and guides to using your Reading Books on Prescription titles that you might find helpful.

What other support might I find at my local library?

Some libraries may provide:

  • Reading groups – to find a reading group near you, ask in your local library or go to Reading Groups for Everyone
  • Reading Well Mood-boosting Books – a national promotion of uplifting novels, poetry and non-fiction
  • Information about local health services and support groups
  • For the dementia scheme – reminiscence collections including historical objects, audio recordings, books, photographs and posters

Can I tell you what I think about the scheme?

We would love to hear your views. Please either fill in our online feedback form or email us at

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