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Health, Wellbeing and Reader Services

Sometimes a book or a poem will reflect exactly how we feel. This reminds us that others have been through the same things before us.  It can help us to catch a moment of excitement, to express our grief, or to comfort us at a time of sadness.  A good book can make you feel better, or take you anywhere in the world (or out of it!) without leaving your own armchair!
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Libraries can help you find information about health and wellbeing using the online reference library.
Library reading groups are a great way to share a love of books, meet new people, explore different ideas.  Sometimes libraries have specific groups for people with mental illness or other health problems

Reading well for mental health

Books on this list provide helpful information and step-by-step self-help techniques for managing a variety of conditions including:
  • depression,
  • anxiety,
  • phobias and
  • eating disorders

Reading well books for mental health

Reading well for dementia

This list 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.

Reading well books for dementia

Reading well for young people's mental health

This list is known as Shelf Help and it recommends books about mental health to young people aged 13 to 18 years old. It provides advice and information about issues such as
  • anxiety,
  • stress
  • OCD
  • difficult experiences like bullying and exams.
The books have been recommended by young people and health professionals.


Reading well books for young people’s mental health

Reading well for Children

The booklist is targeted at children in Key Stage 2 (aged 7-11).The list covers general advice and information about worries, dealing with tough times, healthy minds and feelings.As well as those with a condition like Autism, ADHD etc.

Reading well books for Children

Reading well for long term conditions

Books on this list provides information and support for people living with a long term health condition and their carers.
The booklist covers general advice and information about living with a long term condition, common symptoms and titles focused on specific conditions such as
  • arthritis
  • bowel conditions
  • diabetes
  • heart disease
  • strokes

Reading well books for long term conditions

More information

If you are not a member of the library you can join online.

If you are a GP, mental health practitioner or other health professional who would like copies of the leaflets please contact the Resources Team by emailing

Cornwall Library Service offers a wide range of books in Large Print, and audio books available on CDs and (where still available) on cassettes.  You can also download audio books free here.  For anyone who reads a lot and needs a wide selection of audiobooks, we work in partnership with Cornwall Blind Association and the RNIB Talking Books service.  Please phone Cornwall Blind Association on 01872 261110 for more information.  Or you could try Calibre who offer a free service of audio book loans to anyone with a sight problem, dyslexia, or any other disability which makes reading difficult.

If you are supporting a visually impaired person who wants to read more, there are lots of helpful ideas on the Reading Sight.

Access library membership is open to anyone with a visual impairment, dyslexia, or any other disability which makes it difficult to read printed books.  It offers:
  • free loans of audio books, CDs and DVDs
  • free reservations
  • reduced fines
  • extra free time using library computers
If you would find this helpful, talk to your local library.

If you are unable to get to the library because of disability, long-term illness or caring responsibilities, the Home Library Service may be for you. 

For more information on libraries' contribution to wellbeing, ask at your local library or email