Somerset County Council
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Books on Prescription and Somerset Dementia Collection

 

Reading Well Books on Prescription is a national scheme for England that helps people manage their own health and wellbeing through recommended self-help books that have been selected by health professionals. The scheme is run by The Reading Agency, and supported by the Society of Chief Librarians and NHS England. 

In Somerset, Books on Prescription is delivered through a partnership between Somerset Libraries and Somerset Public Health.

There are three Books on Prescription schemes:

  • Reading Well: Books on Prescription (Mental Health)
  • Reading Well: Shelf Help – Books on Prescription for Young People (Health and Wellbeing)
  • Somerset Dementia Collection, including Reading Well: Books on Prescription for Dementia 

In each scheme, we offer additional titles that have been selected by local health professionals, which can be found with the Reading Well collections in libraries. In many cases these titles were part of pre-existing local Books on Prescription schemes and are valued by local doctors, other prescribers and patients, so remain available as a supplement to the national schemes.

Reading Well: Books on Prescription (Mental Health)
Reading Well, the national Books on Prescription scheme was launched in 2013. There are 30 titles on the Reading Well Books on Prescription booklist. Somerset libraries offer an additional 16 titles. 

The categories in the national scheme are: Anger; Anxiety; Binge Eating / Bulimia Nervosa; Chronic Fatigue; Chronic Pain; Depression; Health Anxiety; Obsessions and Compulsions; Panic; Phobias; Relationship Problems; Self-Esteem; Social Phobia; Sleep Problems; Stress; Worry. The Somerset Additional Titles include books on some of these subjects, and also have categories on Assertiveness; Bereavement; Carers; Mindfulness; PTSD / Trauma.

GPs and mental health workers will give a 'prescription' for one or more self-help books from the recommended booklist, to patients suffering from mild to moderate mental health problems either instead of, or as well as medication. 

You can take your prescription to any Somerset library, and ask a member of staff to find the book for you. If you are not a member of the library, the prescription form, which includes your name and address, will allow you to join on the spot without other identification.

Books are available in most libraries on the open shelves, and may be borrowed by any library members in the same way as any other book. You do not need a prescription.

If the book you are looking for is not available at the time you visit, you can reserve it free of charge from any Somerset library, or at www.librarieswest.org.uk/ 

There are lots of copies of these books in the library service, so you should not have to wait very long for your book. 

Some titles are also available in e-book format. 

There is no charge for borrowing, reserving or renewing Reading Well Books on Prescription titles, and overdue charges do not apply. Books are issued for 6 weeks but you can keep them for longer by renewing them in person at a library, by phone, or on the LibrariesWest website. If you do not return or renew them, you will be charged the cost of replacement.

Reading Well: Shelf Help – Books on Prescription for Young People (Health and Wellbeing)
Shelf Help, the young people’s equivalent of Books on Prescription was launched nationally in April 2016. As well as health professionals, young people themselves suggested titles they felt would be helpful to their age group. There are 35 titles on the national list, and Somerset offers an additional 15 titles.

The categories in the national Shelf Help scheme are: General (Wellbeing – Mental Health – Coping – Feeling Fine – Self-Esteem – Learning About Life); ADHD; Anxiety, Worry and Panic; Autism and Asperger Syndrome; Body Image and Eating Disorders; Bullying; Confidence and Self-Esteem; Depression; Mood Swings; OCD; Self-Harm; Stress. The Somerset Additional Titles include some books in these categories, and also have categories on anger management and grief.

GPs and mental health workers will give a 'prescription' for one or more self-help books from the Shelf Help and / or Somerset Additional Titles booklist, to young people suffering from mild to moderate issues covered by the scheme. This may be instead of, or as well as medication. 

You can take your prescription to any Somerset library, and ask a member of staff to find the book for you. If you are not a member of the library, and are 15 or older, the prescription form, which includes your name and address, will allow you to join on the spot without other identification. If you are under 15, you will need a parent or carer to support your application for library membership.

Books are available in most libraries in or near the Young Adults section, and may be borrowed by any library members in the same way as any other book. You do not need a prescription.

If the book you are looking for is not available at the time you visit, you can reserve it free of charge from any Somerset library, or online at www.librarieswest.org.uk/ 

There are lots of copies of these books in the library service, so you should not have to wait very long for your book. 

There is no charge for borrowing, reserving or renewing Reading Well Shelf Help titles, and overdue charges do not apply. Books are issued for 6 weeks, but you can keep them for longer by renewing them in person at a library, by phone, or on the LibrariesWest website. If you do not return or renew them, you will be charged the cost of replacement.

Somerset Dementia Collection / Reading Well: Books on Prescription for Dementia  
The Somerset Dementia Collection was launched in 2013, with collections in dedicated display stands in 5 libraries: Bridgwater, Frome, Minehead, Taunton, and Yeovil. With the strapline ‘Helping us all to understand’’ the collections used fiction, personal stories, and information books to help people of all ages across the community gain an understanding of Dementia, and to support those caring for Dementia patients.

In 2015, the national Reading Well: Books on Prescription for Dementia was launched. This has been amalgamated into the Somerset Dementia Collection, which has expanded to include 60 titles in each library.  25 titles are from the core national Reading Well Books on Prescription for Dementia booklist, identifiable by the Reading Well branding. The national scheme includes the categories: Information and Advice; Living Well with Dementia; Support for Relatives and Carers; Personal Stories. The Somerset Dementia Collection includes all of the above categories, as well as: Fiction; Picture Books for Children; Books for Older Children. 

There is also a travelling Somerset Dementia Collection, which moves from library to library, staying at each location for at least 6 weeks.

GPs and Dementia care workers will give a 'prescription' for one or more self-help books from the Reading Well booklist or the Somerset Dementia Collection.  

You can take your prescription to any Somerset library, and ask a member of staff to obtain the book for you. If you are not a member of the library, the prescription form, which includes your name and address, will allow you to join on the spot without other identification.

Books are available in dedicated display stands, with the green and white header Somerset Dementia Collection, and may be borrowed by any library members in the same way as any other book. You do not need a prescription.

If the library you go to does not hold the Somerset Dementia Collection, or the book you want is out on loan when you visit, you can reserve it free of charge from any Somerset library, or at www.librarieswest.org.uk/ 

There is no charge for borrowing, reserving or renewing Somerset Dementia Collection titles, and overdue charges do not apply. Books are issued for 6 weeks but you can keep them for longer by renewing them in person at a library, by phone, or on the LibrariesWest website. If you do not return or renew them, you will be charged the cost of replacement.

Contacts

Contact: Libraries Direct
Email: generalenquiries@somerset.gov.uk
Phone: 0300 123 2224

Opening Hours: Monday to Friday 8am to 6pm, Saturday and Sunday closed.

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