Reading Well

The Reading Agency's Reading Well scheme helps you understand and manage your health and wellbeing. The helpful resources consist of booklists which have been chosen and recommended by health experts and people living with the conditions covered.

There are Reading Well books for adults, young people, and children. 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. All of our council-run libraries (in Cowes, Freshwater, Newport, Ryde, Sandown and Ventnor) stock the Reading Well booklists.

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 to use these resources. 

Our library staff are on hand to help if you can't find what you need. However, if you're unhappy about library staff knowing what you're borrowing, no worries. Our libraries have self-service machines available to borrow and return books without anyone seeing what you're reading.

There are five Reading Well collections. All are available at:

Find out more about the Reading Well scheme and the following collections.

Reading Well for mental health

If you or anyone you know need urgent help for your mental health, you can contact Safe Haven provided by Two Saints or 999 if it is an emergency.

You can contact Safe Haven by:

  • drop into the Safe Haven at 7 High Street, Newport, PO30 1SS.
  • call 01983 520168 and speak to the Community Mental Health Safe Haven
  • email

The Reading Well booklist for mental health provides information and support for managing common mental health conditions and 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

The Reading Well list 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 for dementia recommends books you might find helpful if:

  • you have been diagnosed with dementia 
  • you are caring for someone with it
  • you would like to find out more about the condition. 

The books provide information and 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 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.

Dying Matters book collection

The Dying Matters collection contains books to help people individuals and loved ones who are preparing for a death and to help with bereavement. The books are available in each of our council libraries.