Aug 2018 | 208pp

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Edited by Sarah McNicol and Liz Brewster

Bibliotherapy schemes can now be found in libraries all over the world, from public libraries, through to health/hospital libraries and academic libraries. This book draws on the latest international practical and theoretical developments in bibliotherapy to explore how libraries can best support the health and wellbeing of their communities.

Bibliotherapy encompasses all aspects of ‘bibliotherapy’ in its widest sense, starting with a critical historical overview of bibliotherapy, followed by an explanation of theories or approaches to bibliotherapy. The book explains how various bibliotherapy models work by drawing on practical examples to demonstrate how the theories behind bibliotherapy can be applied in practice.

Case studies include a range of settings (public library, academic library, outpatient, inpatient); populations (including young people, ESOL speakers, psychiatric patients, homeless people, people with dementia/carers); and countries (UK, North America, South America, Australia).

Readership: This book will be useful reading for students and practising library and information professionals across sectors, including health, public, and academic libraries, and those with an interest in wellbeing more generally.

Part I: History and theory of bibliotherapy
1. Bibliotherapy: a critical history - Liz Brewster
2. Theories of bibliotherapy - Sarah McNicol
3. Bibliotherapy, illness narratives and narrative medicine - Liz Brewster
4. Bibliotherapy and graphic medicine - Sarah McNicol
Part II: Bibliotherapy case studies
5. Read to Connect: Reading to combat loneliness and promote resilience - Natalia Tukhareli
6. Long term impacts of bibliotherapy groups: reading and writing together - Fiona Bailey
7. The benefits of shared reading groups for those at risk of homelessness - Susan McLaine and Elizabeth Mackenzie
8. Developing a reading group service for an older adult functional psychiatric in-patient ward - David Chamberlain
9. Bibliotherapy in Uruguay: a case study of the Mario Benedetti library for patients dealing with substance abuse - Cristina Deberti Martins (translated by Sarah McNicol)
10.  Adapting the Books on Prescription model for people living with dementia and their carers - Rosie May Walworth
11. Engaging young people in bibliotherapy and reading for wellbeing - Rosie May Walworth
12. Bibliotherapy Read Aloud groups with native and non-native speakers - Kate Gielgud
13. Promoting student wellbeing through a student success collection - Elena Azadbakht and Tracy Englert

'Sarah McNicol and Liz Brewster clearly appreciate and articulate the importance of theory, the significance of research and the value of books and reading. They, and international  contributors, demonstrate compassion, creativity and illustrate how research can be translated into policy and practice.  This life-affirming text is essential reading not only for those concerned with bibliotherapy but for all who believe in the value and potential of library services in the modern world.  Library Task Force members please note!'
 - Bob Usherwood, Professor Emeritus, The University of Sheffield 


Sarah McNicol is a Research Associate at the Education and Social Research Institute, Manchester Metropolitan University. She has worked as an Information Studies researcher since 2000 and she previously worked as a school librarian. At present, much of her research is focused around the use of graphic comics and novels to explore a range of issues, in particular health and wellbeing.

Liz Brewster is a Lecturer at Lancaster Medical School, Lancaster University. Her research focuses on experiences of mental health and wellbeing, particularly how creative activities such as reading may affect mental health. She has previously worked in academic and public libraries. 


Natalia Tukhareli, Fiona Bailey, Susan McLaine, Elizabeth Mackenzie, David Chamberlain, Cristina Deberti Martins, Rosie May Walworth, Kate Gielgud, Elena Azadbakht and Tracy Englert.