Books on Prescription scheme sees loans rise

Books on Prescription scheme sees loans rise

More than 100,000 people have made use of the Books on Prescription scheme since it launched in public libraries last summer.

Libraries in England report that loans of the recommended titles increased by 145% during the first three months of the scheme.

The Books on Prescription programme is a selection of self-help books for dealing with a range of common mental health issues, including anxiety, phobias and depression. The scheme is aimed at helping people to self-manage their conditions, with doctors and other health professionals able to recommend titles available for patients at their local library.

Based on the success of the scheme, which is supported by the Reading Agency, Arts Council England has agreed to fund further work on how libraries can support people with dementia.

Janene Cox, president of the Society of Chief Librarians said: "This is an excellent result for the first stage of the Reading Well Books on Prescription scheme and we are confident that take up of this offer will increase as more people learn about it. We are really pleased the Arts Council have recognized this project and have agreed to help libraries support people living with dementia."

Norman Lamb, minister of state at the Department of Health said: "Mental health conditions like anxiety and depression are common and by helping people understand them, we can ensure they are better equipped to manage their own health.  That’s why this scheme is so valuable as it makes this vital information available in local libraries and free of charge so everybody can access it."