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Reading Well in Wales: Mental health takes centre stage on World Book Day 2020

On the occasion of World Book Day 2020, the Books Council of Wales held a special event on the topic of reading and mental health at Venue Cymru in Llandudno, in support of Reading Well Books on Prescription in Wales.

A panel comprising writer and editor Bethan Mair; Chief Librarian for Denbighshire, Bethan Hughes; author Angharad Tomos; GP Dr Harri Pritchard; author Sharon Marie Jones, and Manon Elin James from charity shared their own experiences, and discussed the positive role of reading in helping to support our mental health.

Find out more about the fantastic panellists and event here.

The proven power of reading

Reading Well Books on Prescription supports people to understand and manage their health and wellbeing using expert endorsed reading available in libraries. The books are all endorsed by health experts, as well as people with living with the conditions and topics covered, and their relatives and carers.

Since its launch in 2013, Reading Well Books on Prescription has reached over 1.2 million people in England and Wales and 90% of people surveyed have found their book helpful.

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Reading Well was launched in Wales in 2018. An independent evaluation of the scheme’s first year in Wales (2018-19) found that it has reached 6217 users and 90% of librarians reported that the scheme had helped to support people in their community.

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Find out more about the 2018/19 evaluation of Reading Well here.

How does Reading Well work?

The books can be recommended by health, social care and voluntary sector professionals and taken free of charge from a local library using our digital user leaflets. Users can also self-refer and borrow the titles like they would any other library book. To find out more about how professionals can recommend the books, please read our prescriber guidelines.

There are currently 2 Reading Well booklists available in all 22 Welsh library authorities:

The Books on Prescription model originated in Wales and Reading Well is a development of this original model. The original Book Prescription Wales programme is no longer in circulation. For information about the history and development of Books on Prescription please see our website.

Reading Well Books on Prescription is delivered by The Reading Agency and public libraries and funded in Wales by the Welsh Government. Find out more about Reading Well in Wales at

Resources for libraries and health professionals

A range of digital resources are available to help libraries as well as health, social care and voluntary sector professionals deliver the scheme. These are all available to download from our resource bank and include:

  • Bilingual digital user leaflets and posters
  • Prescriber guidelines
  • Plasma screen artwork for displaying in waiting rooms, libraries, etc.
  • Overviews of all the titles
  • Social media/web assets including an image bank, artwork, and book jacket composites
  • Delivery model for libraries
  • A template letter library staff can send to health/social care professionals to establish local partnerships to deliver Reading Well
  • Infographics containing key facts & figures about the scheme

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