Isle of Wight Council

Specialist Library Services

Reading Well

Reading Well

Reading Well is a national scheme that helps people understand and manage their health and wellbeing using helpful reading. Run by the Reading Agency, it consists of several lists of books which have been chosen and recommended by health experts, as well as people living with the conditions covered.

As well as books for adults, there are also Reading Well books for children and young people.

Isle of Wight Libraries stock all the Reading Well booklists in all six Council-run libraries (Cowes, Freshwater, Newport, Ryde, Sandown and Ventnor.)  Sometimes health professionals "prescribe" a book from one of the Reading Well lists, but you don't need to have a recommendation from a health professional. All the books are available for anyone to borrow. All you need is a library card, which you can get for free from any library.

If you need help finding the book you're looking for, library staff will be on hand to help. However, if you're unhappy about library staff knowing what you're borrowing, it's not a problem. All six Council-run libraries have optional self-service machines, allowing you to borrow and return books without anyone seeing.

You can find out more about the Reading Well scheme on the Reading Agency's Reading Well site.


There are five Reading Well collections available. All five are stocked in the following libraries:

You can read more about the five collections below.

Reading Well for mental health

Reading Well for mental health provides helpful information and support for managing common mental health conditions, or dealing with difficult feelings and experiences. It includes a wide variety of books on mental health and wellbeing, including anxiety, OCD, eating disorders, depression, panic and grief.

View the Reading Well for Mental Health booklist

Reading Well for long-term conditions

Reading Well for long term conditions provides information and support for people living with a long term health condition, as well as to their carers. The booklist covers general advice and information about living with a long term condition, as well as titles focused on specific conditions such as arthritis, bowel conditions, diabetes, heart disease and stroke.

View the Reading Well for long-term conditions booklist

Reading Well 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.

View the Reading Well for dementia booklist

Reading Well for children

This is targeted at children aged 7 to 11, but includes titles aimed at a wide range of reading levels to support less confident readers, and to encourage children to read together with their siblings and carers. It includes both fiction and non-fiction on issues such as bullying, anxiety, dealing with tough times and feelings, as well as books about conditions such as ADHD, autism and dyslexia.

View the Reading Well for Children booklist

Newport Library and Ryde Library also stock a wider range of titles on similar subjects, as well as picture books about new experiences, in their When a Book Might Help collections.

Shelf Help: Reading Well for young people

The Shelf Help collection is a collection of books for teenagers and young people aged 13 to 18, designed to offer support and advice on common mental health conditions, such as depression, anxiety and stress, as difficult situations such as bullying and exam pressure. The books, which include self-help, psycho-education, memoirs, graphic novels and fiction, have all been chosen by young people and health professionals.

View the Reading Well for young people booklist