'Mood busting' novels and poetry books on prescription in Cornwall
8:40am Friday 1st February 2013 in News
A plan is in place to have 'mood busting' poetry and fiction books on prescription in Cornwall's libraries.
The plan is part of a new vision for public libraries, with a series of national initiatives to be rolled out throughout 2013, including the introduction of the first national ‘Books on Prescription’ scheme for England
The scheme has been developed by the Reading Agency in partnership with SCL and with the support of partners including Arts Council England and the Department of Health.
Under the scheme GP’s and other health professionals will provide prescriptions for patients with mild to moderate mental health conditions for specific self-help books which will be accessible in Cornish libraries.
The scheme will also, for the first time, offer people mood boosting novels and poetry plus social reading activities like reading groups.
“This Books on Prescription scheme is already in place in libraries in Cornwall where health professionals have been able to prescribe self-help books for a number of years” said Merryn Kent, reader services officer for Face to Face Services in Cornwall.
“However being part of the national scheme means that from May anybody moving in or out of Cornwall can have the same service wherever they are. It will also be the first time we have offered fiction and poetry as part of Books on Prescription.”
Miranda McKearney OBE, Director of The Reading Agency, said: “The Reading Agency is delighted to be leading the work with the Society of Chief Librarians on a new era of reading based health services in libraries. The charity is helping libraries work collectively to develop their services for the six million people with depression and anxiety.
"Reading is stress busting and can help people understand and manage health conditions from chronic pain to depression. We will be launching a new English Books on Prescription scheme in May and the scheme will also encourage people to enjoy mood boosting novels and poetry and to participate in reading groups. “
Cornwall Council says that many of the proposed national initiatives are already taking place in libraries in Cornwall, with plans to introduce others already underway.
Unveiling details of the vision at a national press conference today, (January 31), Janene Cox, President of the Society of Chief Librarians, said that four ‘Universal Offers’ will, for the first time, be rolled out nationally across all public libraries in England and Wales. The ‘Universal Offers’ – Health, Reading, Information and Digital – have been developed by the Society of Chief Librarians and partners, including Arts Council England and The Reading Agency, and relate to the four service areas which modern users regard as integral to public libraries.
The aim of the new national approach is to clarify what members of the public should be able to expect from their local library. The offers will also help identify where libraries can provide real value to local people and where they will be working collectively to "deliver impact in difficult times".
Cornwall Council has already signed up to the Universal Reading Offer. This means that any activity or event offered by a library in Cornwall will fit one of the four offers.
“Libraries are a vital resource for local communities and it is important that they keep changing to meeting the needs of their users” added Council Leader Jim Currie.
“I am very pleased that Cornwall is part of the Universal Reading Offer. These are difficult times but because of the Offer we can continue to deliver a high standard of service to the people of Cornwall. It will also help libraries to respond to the needs of local communities through our work with partners and community groups. “
“Our first event under the Reading Offer will be National Libraries Day on 9th February. National Libraries Day is a celebration of libraries of all kinds. Lots of the libraries in Cornwall are putting on special activities so please go along to your local branch and see what the modern library has to offer.”