Health and Wellbeing

Sometimes a book or a poem will reflect exactly how we feel, and remind us that others have been through the same things before us;  or 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!

Libraries can help you find information about health and wellbeing using online reference library or through our enquiry service.

Continue reading

Library reading groups (or writing, poetry or play-reading groups) are a great way to share a love of books, meet new people, explore different ideas.  Sometimes libraries have groups particularly for people with mental illness or other health problems.

The Questions About Cancer project is being partnered by Cornwall Libraries, The Peninsula Cancer Network and Macmillan Cancer Support.

The Cornwall Books on Prescription scheme has been replace by the national scheme known as Reading Well: Books on Prescription.  This is run by The Reading Agency in partnership with the Society of Chief Librarians and is funded by the Arts Council England.  The scheme helps people manage their own health and wellbeing through recommended self-help books.

The list includes books on anger, depression, eating disorders, chronic fatigue, depression, self –esteem, sleep problems and stress. Your doctor or another health worker may prescribe a book from the list for you to read. If they do, just take the Reading Well Books on Prescription leaflet along to your local library and ask them to get the book for you. If you are not already a library member, you can join straight away - it is all free. 

As well as the core book list, Cornwall Libraries are offering additional titles to support the offer.  These titles have been recommended by the Kernow Clinical Commissioning Group and Outlook South West.  The books provide self-help reading for memory loss, post-natal depression and using Mindfulness therapies.

If you wish you can join online.  You can also self-subscribe if you sign the leaflet and take it to your local library.  If you wish you can search our online catalogue and order the book online.  Please be aware that you will be charged for this unless you also sign the leaflet.  Leaflets and information are available from GPs, and some other health clinics and pharmacies.  You can also ask for a leaflet and get more information at your local library or at

Copies of the Reading Well: Books on Prescription core book list, Cornwall Library services supplementary list and the leaflet are available for you to download.

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, and extra free time using library computers.  If you would find this helpful, talk to your local library.

Books for Parents and Carers is a list of helpful and easy-to-use books, reviewed and recommended by parents and professionals.  The books cover topics of interest to parents and everyone involved in the care of children, from breastfeeding to bullying, toddler tantrums to communicating with teenagers.  They can all be borrowed from your local library. Professionals working with parents and carers are invited to "prescribe" one or more books which they think will find helpful.

You can read the leaflet online here Books for Parents and Carers, or for printed copies please phone 0800 587 8191.  You can order the books from our online catalogue - type "Books for Parents and Carers" in the keyword box to bring up the full list.  If you are not a member of the library already, you can join online too!

Also look out for the new leaflet Books 2 Help, for children and young people aged 0 - 19.

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