Reading Well

Reading Well

Reading Well Books on Prescription is a national scheme by The Reading Agency, designed to help people to better understand and manage their health and wellbeing.

The books are all endorsed by health experts, as well as people living with the conditions covered and their relatives and carers. You can be recommended a title by a health professional, or you can visit your local library and take a book out yourself.

There are currently four Reading Well collections, all of which are available in every library.

Reading Well for Children


The Reading Well for children booklist contains 33 books covering topics relevant to the children of today, including grief, anxiety, bullying and staying safe online. In recognition of the potential impact of living with diagnosed conditions and physical disabilities, the booklist explores living well with conditions including Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), dyslexia, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and physical disabilities. The booklist is targeted at children in Key Stage 2 and includes titles suitable for a wide range of reading levels to support less confident readers, and to encourage children to read together with their siblings and carers.

Recognised by leading health bodies including the Royal Society for Public Health, the new Reading Well for children booklist has been developed by The Reading Agency, health professionals, and children with experience of the topics covered and their families and carers. The book selection panel included experts from public libraries, NHS England, Mind, the Royal College of GPs and the School Library Association. Created in partnership with Libraries Connected, the quality-assured booklist is completely free to access from public libraries.

Reading Well for Adult Mental Health 2018


Reading Well for mental health

The Reading Well Books on Prescription for mental health books provide helpful information and step-by-step self-help techniques for managing a variety of common mental health conditions, including depression and anxiety. They are endorsed by health professionals and can all be found in your local library.

  • These collections include titles based on principles of cognitive behavioural therapy for a range of common mental health conditions including:
  • anxiety
  • depression
  • phobias and some eating disorders. 

If you are a mental health practitioner and are interested in prescribing Reading Well books or for any other information please email Colin Bray:

Reading Well Books for Long-term Conditions


Reading Well Books on Prescription for Long-term Conditions

Collections are available at the following libraries:

Barnstaple, Bideford, Crediton, Exeter, Exmouth, Honiton, Ivybridge, Kingsbridge, Newton Abbot, Okehampton, Sidmouth, St Thomas, Tavistock, Teignmouth, Tiverton and Totnes.

If you local library doesn't hold a collection, requests for these books are free across the whole library network.

This collection includes 28 books recommended by health care professionals covering these subjects:

  • Arthritis
  • Bowel Conditions
  • Breathing Difficulties including Asthma
  • Diabetes
  • Hear Disease
  • Stroke
  • Fatigue
  • Chronic Pain
  • Support for Carers

The scheme is run nationally by the Reading Agency and supported by national organisations working in these areas of health and wellbeing.

For more information, please contact


Reading Well Books for Young People


Shelf Help – Reading Well Books on Prescription for young people 

Shelf Help include 35 titles recommended by young people and health professionals addressing these themes:

  • Self-esteem and learning about life
  • Anxiety, worry and panic
  • Body image and eating disorders
  • Confidence and self-esteem
  • ADHD
  • Autism and Asperger Syndrome
  • Depression
  • Mood swings
  • Self-Harm
  • OCD
  • Bullying

If you can’t find the books you want on the shelves of your local library, they can be reserved free of charge.
The scheme is run nationally by The Reading Agency and supported by Public Health Devon along with other national organisations working to support the mental health of young people.
If you would like further support, the following organisations might be able to help you:

For more information go to Reading Well Shelf Help or email Colin Bray:

Reading Well Books for Dementia


Reading Well Books on Prescription for Dementia

Reading Well Books on Prescription for dementia recommends books you might find helpful if you have dementia, are caring for someone with dementia or would like to find out more about the condition.
The books provide information and advice, support for living well, advice for relatives and carers, and personal stories. They are endorsed by health professionals and can all be found in your local library.

The Reading Well Books on Prescription for dementia collection include 25 titles including:

  • normal ageing and memory problems
  • background information about dementia
  • living well with dementia
  • support for relatives and carers and personal stories

The list is supported by Public Health Devon and The Alzheimer’s Society along with other national organisations working in dementia research, treatment and care.
For more information email Colin Bray:

Further Sources of Dementia Information and Support

Devon Dementia Roadmap 
Pinpoint – Information about Community Services in Devon
Devon Carers 
Devon Memory Cafes 
Devon Libraries Memory Groups

The Dementia Guide 
The Memory Handbook 
Publications and Factsheets 
The Dementia Guide in other languages 
Dementia UK 
Young Dementia UK 
Carers UK 
Age UK 
Cruse Bereavement Care

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Libraries in Devon are run by Libraries Unlimited

Bringing ideas, imagination, creativity and knowledge to enrich people’s lives and build thriving communities.

Libraries Unlimited South West, a company limited by guarantee, registered in England and Wales. Registered company number: 9822597. Registered charity number:1170092. Registered office: Exeter Library, Castle Street, Exeter, Devon , EX4 3PQ.