The medicinal power of literature

People consulting their local GP over mental health issues may find they are written a surprising prescription, one redeemed at the local library rather than a pharmacy.

The “big guns” of the library and medical worlds have joined for an initiative to help treat those with mild to moderate mental health problems.
Patients could be recommended anything from one of 30 medical volumes dealing with specific conditions to “mood boosting books” – novels and poetry – from writers including Jo Brand, Bill Bryson and Terry Jones.
The Society of Chief Librarians (SCL) and The Reading Agency today announced the scheme dubbed “Books on Prescription” which starts in May.
 “There’s growing evidence that shows that self-help reading can help people with certain mental health issues get better,” Miranda McKearney, director of The Reading Agency, said.
This forms part of a wider vision for the future of public libraries in the 21st century, including offering internet access and training, and potentially e-lending services.

Source  - Independent