Lift for dementia 'books on prescription' loans

Lift for dementia 'books on prescription' loans

Titles on dementia recommended by the Reading Well Books on Prescription scheme have seen their library borrowings jump since the programme was first announced.

Figures released to mark the beginning of Dementia Awareness Week show that libraries in England have seen a 286% growth in national library loans for the 25 related titles, which include non-fiction as well as related books such as Still Alice by Lisa Genova, recently made into a film starring Julianne Moore. 

Figures taken from PLR on a sample of ten libraries show the growth in lending. Titles such as Simon Atkin's First Steps to Living with Dementia (Lion Books) jumped from 70 loans in September 2014 to 220 in January 2015, while others, such as Chris Carling's But Then Something Happened: A story of Everyday Dementia (Golden Books), went from single figure loans to nearly 100 after promotion. The most borrowed title was Genova's Still Alice (Simon & Schuster), which went from 159 loans to 395.

This week, libraries across England will host a range of dementia-related events, with authors Dr Alex Bailey and Ian Donaghy giving talks in London and York respectively. On 20th May, a specialist dementia friendly library will open in Wakefield.

Jeremy Hughes, chief executive of Alzheimer’s Society said: “It is very encouraging to hear that the scheme has been so effective in its first few months and that public libraries are proving an important new tool in helping to deliver much needed health services for people with dementia in their community."

Debbie Hicks of the Reading Agency said: “We’re really excited by the early success of Reading Well Books on prescription for dementia. It clearly illustrates the important role that public libraries can play in raising dementia awareness, supporting people to live well with the condition and promoting dementia friendly communities. We’re looking forward to future developments of the programme.”