Life matters - how libraries can help

Books for those situations that life throws at you…

We all experience times in our lives when we need some information and guidance on where to go next. For support, help to support others, or to find new ways of broaching sensitive subjects we recommend the Life Matters collection.

You'll find books for all the family and for you alone, concise information and the facts in depth as well as an array of fiction for all ages.

It can be helpful to explore issues through fiction and memoirs, whether the books mirror personal experience or lead to a fuller understanding.

Family life

Families and relationships can sometimes be complex and difficult to deal with. We've provided a selection of titles on relationships, adoption, conception and IVF. We have also included titles that may help you prepare your child for every stage of their education.

Fostering and adoption

As a looked after child in Surrey, you will find extra benefits when using our library services. When a carer registers a child, or if a Young Adult (age 16 and 17) registers themselves, it is important to let us know that they are in the care of Surrey County Council. We will set up an Early Years, Child or Young Adult library card as appropriate - registration is completely free for everyone - listing Surrey County Council as the Corporate Parent. Library staff can then help foster carers and children to manage their accounts.

Surrey Libraries hold a range of titles for foster families and children in care, including many that have been recommended by foster carers, social workers and looked after children:

Life Matters picture books to share with young children

It's important to talk things through with your child but it can be hard to know where to start. Picture books can be invaluable in terms of stimulating dialogue and helping children understand the world around them.

Understanding looks at differences, being sociable, fair and making good choices. Experiences looks at first experiences such as moving house or going to the doctor as well as those that might have an emotional impact, such as bullying, feeling shy or excluded.

Older children and young adults

We had created collections for children and young adults that bring together many of the issues covered in Life Matters. We also have separate collections that specifically look at fostering and adoption as well as other issues that young people are likely to encounter.

For information to support young people's mental health please refer to Shelf Help, available in all Surrey Libraries.


The fiction collections for both adults and children all feature leading characters with an autism spectrum condition. Using a wide range of styles, these books present the many strengths and challenges of looking at the world with a unique perspective.

As well as fiction we have guides, memoirs and non-fiction for children.

Grief and bereavement

Understanding and coping with loss can be difficult whatever your age: find books and memoirs to help you come to terms with your loss. We also have practical guides about what to do when someone dies.

Drugs, alcohol and gambling

This collection looks at addiction, drugs, gambling and smoking. These titles explore the social implications of addiction and look at coping when things get out of hand.

Motivation, confidence and career

We have selected a series of books to help you thrive as well as practical advice for CV writing an interview skills.

Student life

Collections for students and those preparing for higher education. This covers budgeting, cooking and study.

Life Matters graphic novels

Graphic novels and memoirs continue to grow in popularity. With visuals both beautiful and shocking, this collection has something for committed comics fans and those who may be new to this form of storytelling. Choosing from many styles and voices we have selected an international collection that looks at many of the issues we explore in Life Matters.

Out Lit: lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender

Our Out Lit collection of books covers themes and issues at the heart of the LGBT population. Whether questioning, out, family or friend, find information and advice, whatever your sexual orientation. For even more information have a look at our LGBT page.

Self harm

Self-help books will help you understand why people self-harm and how to help them; we also have memoirs from people who have suffered to encourage empathy and understanding. Reading list:

Domestic abuse

Books for individuals and families affected by domestic abuse. Including abuse in LGBT relationships, professionals working with victims, domestic abuse, emotional abuse, female genital mutilation, forced marriage, men who are in abusive relationships, and novels dealing with this theme. For more information and support have a look at our domestic abuse page.

More information

If the book you want isn't in your local library, you can reserve it or if you think we are missing an important title or topic, please contact us via our library stock suggestion form.

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