We aim to provide accessible services for library members with special needs or disabilities. We also offer support and services for carers, foster carers, home educators and child minders.
Our specialist collections cover Mental Health, Autism, Dementia, Adult Literacy and Learning English. If you have an accessibility issue not covered by these initiatives, please speak to Library staff.
Visual impairment and dyslexia
If you are blind, partially sighted or have other disabilities that affect reading such as dyslexia, we can amend your membership to give you access to these concessions:
- Free requests and loans of audiobooks
- Free requests for large print books
- No overdue charges for children’s items borrowed on a child’s card for visually impaired children under 12
Please speak to staff at your local library about updating your membership.
For dyslexic adults, we just need a signature from a basic skills tutor, or a teacher certified by the British Dyslexia Association. For children with dyslexia, a signature from a teacher is required.
All library members can download e-audiobooks free of charge from Borrow Box.
Home Library Service
We work with the Royal Voluntary Service (RVS) to provide a Home Library Service. The service is available to anyone who is unable to visit their local library, specifically people who are housebound, living in long term care, carers, or people who are vulnerable due to long term conditions or disabilities. The service is open to people of all ages. You can also ask someone to register in the Good Neighbour scheme to access library services on your behalf.
Our wheelchair accessible Mobile Library vehicle provides access to our loan items in rural areas of Somerset with no local library. There are 152 stops serving 128 communities around the county.
Books on Prescription
Books on Prescription is a national scheme that helps people manage their own health and wellbeing through recommended self-help books selected by health professionals. These titles can be reserved free of charge, and a prescription allows non-members to join the library with no need for other identification.
The Books on Prescription schemes cover :
- Reading Well Books on Prescription (Mental Health)
- Reading Well Shelf Help – Books on Prescription for Young People (Health and Wellbeing)
- Reading Well Books on Prescription (Long term Conditions)
- Somerset Dementia Collection, including Reading Well: Books on Prescription for Dementia
Somerset Autism Collection
People living with autism have helped select the books and DVDs, and organisations like the National Autistic Society, Somerset Parent Carer Forum and other health and social care services have also been involved.
Some of the books are written by professionals with many years of experience working in the field of autism and others are written by autistic people and their families, sharing their own personal accounts and experiences.
The collection includes fiction, non-fiction and biography. Titles explore a range of topics such as mental health, learning difficulties, relationships, supporting young people and autism in women.
There are five complete collections of books and DVDs in Bridgwater, Frome, Taunton, Yeovil and Williton libraries. Every library in Somerset carries a selection of books, and all titles from the collection are available to request free of charge from any Somerset library, or online at www.librarieswest.org.uk. Booklists are available at every Somerset library
Somerset Dementia Collection
The Somerset Dementia Collection includes the Reading Well Books on Prescription for Dementia scheme. The collection is housed in 9 libraries: Bridgwater, Burnham, Chard, Frome, Minehead, Street, Taunton, Wells and Yeovil, and the books are available on request from all our libraries.
With the strapline ‘Helping us all to understand’’ the collections use fiction, personal stories and information books to help people of all ages across the community gain an understanding of dementia, and to support people caring for dementia patients.
Titles in this collection are free to request.
Reading well for mental health
Reading Well for mental health provides helpful information and support for managing common mental health conditions, or dealing with difficult feelings and experiences. Some books also include personal stories from people who are living with or caring for someone with mental health needs.
Men's Wellbeing Collection
The Men’s Wellbeing Collection is a joint project between Somerset Libraries and Public Health to help address poor mental health amongst men. The collection is made up of 20 titles, which either directly address mental health difficulties or aim to indirectly help through the therapeutic benefits of reading. There are both fiction and non-fiction titles and all are accessible, easy reads rather than heavy scientific ones. In addition to the 20 titles there is a list of other resources to go with it such as magazines, blogs, films and podcasts.
This is an innovative collection of books and resources that aims to get more men thinking and talking about their mental health. The titles in the collection were chosen with the help of the Somerset Boys and Mens Health Network, and all have been picked because they explore mental health in an easy and accessible way. We have also compiled useful online resources such as e-zines, podcasts and websites.
There are 4 collections that rotate around our libraries every few months. The titles are all free to request if they’re being kept elsewhere, and you can find a booklist in the Health & Wellbeing section of your local library.
Titles in this collection are free to request
How not to be a boy – Robert Webb – Male roles and expectations – Biography
Help – Simon Amstell – Anxiety, Depression – Biography
Recovery: Freedom from our Addictions – Russell Brand – Addiction recovery – Biography
Thinking out Loud: Love, Grief and Being Mum and Dad – Rio Ferdinand – Bereavement, Single Parenting – Biography
Boys Don’t cry: Why I hid my depression and why men need to talk about their mental health – Tim Grayburn – Depression, Male roles – Biography
Blue: A memoir – John Sutherland – Depression, Nervous Breakdown, Career burnout – Biography
My Son’s Not Rainman: One Man, One Autistic Boy, A Million Adventures – John Williams – Parenting, disability – Biography
Let me be Frank – Frank Bruno – Bipolar, Bereavement – Biography
The Happy Depressive: In Pursuit of Personal and Political Happiness – Alistair Campbell – Mental wellbeing, theory of happiness – Non fiction
The Descent of Man – Greyson Perry – Masculinity – Non fiction
Emotional Intelligence – Daniel Goleman – Importance of developing emotional intelligence – Non fiction
Who stole my spear – Tim Samuels – Modern man – Non fiction
The Things you can see only when you slow down: How to be calm in a busy world – Haemin Sunim – Work-life balance – Non fiction
Mort – Terry Pratchet – General mood boosting – Fiction
A Man Called Ove – Frederik Blackman – General mood boosting – Fiction
The Alchemist – Paulo Coelho – Self-discovery – Fiction
Catcher in the Rye – J.D. Salinger – Boys growing up – Fiction
The Silver Linings Playbook – Matthew Quick – Recovering from mental illness, relationships – Fiction
The Shock of the Fall – Nathan Filer – Mental Illness – Fiction
Online Resources: E-zines, Podcasts, Websites
Calmzine – Men’s mental wellbeing e-zine published by CALM www.thecalmzone.net
The Man Manual – Series of free publications on keeping healthy from the Men’s Health Forum. issuu.com/menshealthforum
Men’s Health Magazine – Best selling men’s health magazine. Available for free to library members www.rbdigital.com/somerset
Movember Podcast – Inspiring personal stories from men www.movember.com/news/radio
Bryony Gordon’s Mad World – Podcast exploring why feeling weird is the most normal thing in the world.
Mental Health Foundation – Range of mental health podcasts including interviews and ‘How to’ guides. www.mentalhealth.org.uk/podcasts-and-videos
Mind – Mental health advice including helpline, blog and local support www.mind.org.uk
Rethink Mental Illness – Advice for mental illness including helpline and webchat www.rethink.org
Carers, fosterers, home educators and childminders
If you have special caring responsibilities, you are entitled to an additional library card to support young people in your care.
Young People’s Mental Health Collection
Reading Well for young people recommends expert endorsed books about mental health, providing teens with advice and information about issues like anxiety, stress and OCD, body image and eating disorders, and difficult experiences like bullying and exams.
The books have all been recommended by young people and health professionals, and are available to borrow for free from Somerset libraries.
Long-term conditions collection
Reading Well for long-term conditions provides information and support for people living with a long-term health condition and their carers.
The booklist covers general advice and information about living with a long-term condition, information about common symptoms and titles focused on specific conditions – such as arthritis, bowel conditions, diabetes, heart disease and stroke.
The books have all been recommended by people with real experience of long-term conditions and health professionals, and are available to borrow for free from public libraries.
Reading Well Mood-boosting books is a national promotion of uplifting titles, including novels, poetry and non-fiction. The books are all recommended by readers and reading groups.
You can browse the list on the Reading Well website, and request titles on the LibrariesWest website or at your local library.