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Reading well

Libraries reopening news and updates

From Monday 5 October, 17 libraries will extend their opening hours. For the latest updates and information on current library services, opening hours and how we are keeping customers and staff safe, visit our Coronavirus information page.

In light of the current COVID-19 outbreak, it is even more important to ensure that you take care of your mental health. Advice and guidance on looking after your mental health can be found on NHS: Every Mind Matters.

Reading Well from The Reading Agency, highlights books that are not only recommended and endorsed by GPs and other medical professionals, but also those with experience of the conditions or topics covered. Surrey Libraries takes part in all five schemes

Self Help books can be very effective when read on their own, or when used with prescribed medication, counselling or therapy. Reading Well is designed to give practical information and advice while encouraging self-awareness and understanding of individual health issues.

Reading Well provides a comprehensive collection to help readers and their families develop strategies for coping and improve overall health and wellbeing. All of the booklists can be found via the Reading Agency's Reading Well webpages.

  • New for 2020 – Reading Well for Children Reading Well for Children is a new booklist of expert endorsed reading to support children's mental health and wellbeing. The list is targeted at children in Key Stage 2 but includes titles aimed at a wide range of reading levels.

The list covers general information and advice about the following:

Maintaining good mental health and wellbeing; managing feelings and worries; navigating the world around you, including at school and online; dealing with bereavement and trauma; and support for living well with conditions including Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).

  • Reading Well for mental health. Provides information and support for managing common mental health conditions. This includes anxiety and depression; dealing with difficult feelings and experiences, such as anger or bereavement and stories about personal experiences of the conditions covered.
  • Books on Prescription: Dementia. Provides information and advice about dementia for all those affected by the condition. It suggests books to support living well after diagnosis, practical advice for carers, personal accounts, and ideas for shared therapeutic activities. The books are available in a selection of our libraries.

In addition, we have a Reminiscence Collection which is available for customers to borrow.

  • Reading Well: Shelf Help Shelf Help is aimed at young people and those looking to support their mental health. Shelf Help books have been chosen by young people and health experts to help with difficult feelings and experiences affecting the young person's wellbeing. As well as providing the best advice, the list includes fiction, memoirs and graphic novels as an aid to exploring these topics.

All schemes are stocked in most of our libraries and can be requested online or in a library. We also have a selection of the titles available as eBooks.

Click on the links below to view the availability and location of the titles by category.


Reading Well for Children

Reading Well for Mental Health

Books on Prescription: Dementia

Shelf Help – Reading Well for young people

Want to know more?

Reading Well is a national scheme delivered in conjunction with the Reading Agency and the Society of Chief Librarians, with funding from the Arts Council. There is strong evidence that self-help reading works for people with common mental health conditions. The new dementia element builds on this evidence and the existing support mechanisms in place in libraries, such as our Reminiscence Collection, to address a mounting need in the community for cost effective support.

Mood-boosting books

Reading Well Mood-boosting Books is The Reading Agency's national promotion of uplifting titles, including novels, poetry and non-fiction. The books are all recommended by readers and reading groups.

The new Mood-boosting list has something for everyone.

Read Yourself Well

Read Yourself Well is Surrey Libraries' own collection of memoirs and fiction which help to support mental health:

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