Books on prescription

Reading Well Books on Prescription service

Feeling Low? Lying awake worrying? Stressed?

Reading Well Books on Prescription (BOP) is a service offering high quality self-help books, eBooks and audio CDs. They are available to borrow from County Council managed libraries and our website. GPs and health professionals can also ‘prescribe’ titles in the collection.

The self-help books help with a range of commonly experienced mental health issues, such as depression, anxiety and stress.  There is also a separate collection for those with dementia and their carers and relatives.


Watch this video on YouTube

> Back to top

How the service works

  • You can be given a book prescription by your GP or mental health professional.
  • Take it to your local library, where staff will help you find the book, eBook or audio CD.
  • BOP collections are located in 21 libraries, and they can be obtained at any library in the county.
  • If you are not already a member of the library, you can join immediately, using the book prescription as identification and take the book(s) home.
  • Books and audio CDs are issued for 3 weeks and can be renewed if no-one is waiting for them.
  • The recommended books are available for anyone to read. You do not need a prescription.
  • EBook versions of some titles are also available for three weeks for free.

> Back to top

How to prescribe & who can prescribe

BOP is currently available across Warwickshire for GPs, IAPT Practitioners, Mental Health Professionals within Warwickshire County Council and Coventry and Warwickshire Partnership Trust, Occupational Health within public bodies and Wellbeing Centres to prescribe for their patients and service users

Books can be selected using the list on the prescription form and brief descriptions of the books:

Books on Prescription: guide for prescribers (PDF, 814.43 KB) Books On Prescription: Reading Well Form (PDF, 228.52 KB) Books on Prescription: books and audio CDs list (PDF, 1.54 MB) Books On Prescription: user guide (PDF, 564.05 KB)

We are planning to extend the service to other health professionals.

Any other organisations can signpost people to the library, as the books are available for anyone using the library to read and borrow. If you would like to become a Prescriber, please contact the BOP Coordinator – see contact details below.

> Back to top

Books, eBooks and audio CDs

Library catalogue – Browse the Books on Prescription collection

  • The BOP titles are recommended nationally by health professionals including GPs.
  • Warwickshire BOP titles have been reviewed by local health professionals.
  • Most of the books are written by leading psychologists and many present self-help versions of established treatment programmes.
  • They can help you learn about and manage a range of common mental health problems.


EBook versions of some titles are available for three weeks for free from our Overdrive service:

ebooks – more about our eBook and eMagazine services.

> Back to top

Dementia books

Reading Well Books on Prescription for Dementia

Library Catalogue – Browse Books on Prescription for Dementia

Reading Well Books on Prescription for Dementia is part of the national Books on Prescription service and is a collection of 25 recommended titles for people who have dementia, are caring for someone with dementia or want to find out more information. There are five categories; Information and Advice, Living Well with Dementia, Support for relatives and Carers and Personal Stories.

The collection has been put together by health professionals from recommended titles, selected using guidelines and quality standards for dementia care from NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) and other professional organisations. Reading Well Books on Prescription helps people to understand and manage their health and wellbeing through recommended self-help books.

Anyone can borrow the books, and they are available for GPs and health professionals to ‘prescribe’ or recommend. Please see the Dementia Booklist download for brief descriptions of the books.
In Warwickshire collections are located in Atherstone, Bedworth, Kenilworth, Leamington, Rugby, Stratford and Warwick Libraries but can be borrowed and requested from any library in Warwickshire.

Reading Well Books on Prescription for dementia – Digital user leaflet (PDF, 333.79 KB)

Reading Well Books on Prescription for Dementia – eBooks

Reading Well Books on Prescription is a national service for England delivered by The Reading Agency and the Society of Chief Librarians with funding from Arts Council England.

Reading Well Books on Prescription.

Pictures to Share

Library Catalogue – Browse Pictures to Share collection

Pictures to Share is a series of hard backed pictures books for people with mid to late stage dementia. They aim to make communication easier and encouraging reminiscence, especially when shared with a family carer or care worker. They can also be helpful for someone who has suffered a stroke or who has learning difficulties. There are twelve titles covering a variety of subjects with a mix of vintage and modern photos, artwork accompanied by quotes and sayings and descriptions.

They are located at the following libraries and can be requested from any library in Warwickshire – Atherstone Library, Bedworth Library, Kenilworth Library, Leamington Library, Rugby Library, Stratford Library and Warwick Library.

We also offer lending sets of the Pictures to Share titles to care homes and day centres within Warwickshire. They are lent on a long term loan for use within the setting. Please enquire on 03005 558171 or

> Back to top

Wellbeing Hubs with BOP collections

A list of Hubs can be found at Mental Health and Wellbeing (in the section titled Feeling stressed, worried, low or concerned about your mental health?).

> Back to top

Links to local services

Mental Health Services – An overview of local help and support provided by Warwickshire County Council in partnership with Warwickshire’s Community and Voluntary Sector.

Community groups and organisations – A searchable database of local groups, including mental health support groups, as well as clubs, leisure societies, etc.

Public Health Warwickshire: five ways to wellbeing – For information on Five ways to wellbeing in Warwickshire : 

> Back to top

Useful national organisations’ websites

Anxiety UK UK site with information on anxiety, panic attacks, obsessions, agoraphobia, post traumatic stress disorder, social anxiety, and many other anxiety related disorders.

NHS Choices Health and wellbeing website, including information about conditions, treatments and living a healthy lifestyle.

Rethink Information about mental health illnesses and disorders, together with useful information about everyday living with a mental illness.

Mind Comprehensive coverage of mental health topics, including anger management, bereavement, depression, eating disorders, panic attacks, sleep problems and stress.

Mental Health Foundation Comprehensive A-Z of mental health issues.

Cruse Cruse Bereavement Care exists to promote the well-being of bereaved people and to enable anyone bereaved by death to understand their grief and cope with their loss.

> Back to top

Frequently asked questions

What is books on prescription? (BOP)

This service enables GPs and mental health professionals to offer their patients and service users self help books available from the local library. The books are recommended by health professionals, and they can help people learn about and manage a range of commonly experienced mental health problems, including depression, anxiety and stress. Most of the books are written by leading psychologists and many present self-help versions of established treatment programmes.

What does the term “Mental Health” actually mean?

The term ‘mental health problems’ is one that covers a range of experiences and situations. Mental health could be viewed as an ongoing journey, from mental well-being through to a severe and enduring mental illness. We all experience changes in our mental health state, influenced by social, personal, financial and other factors. Major life events such as a close bereavement, or leaving home, can impact significantly on how we feel about ourselves, and can lead to depression and anxiety.

How do we know that BOP actually works?

The service originated in Cardiff in 2004, and has spread to many other local authority areas, where it has proved popular with patients and health professionals. In the BOP survey (November 2012 – February 2013) over three quarters of respondents strongly agreed that they found the BOP material helpful.

Books on Prescription: survey summary 2012-13 (PDF, 39.47 KB)

How will BOP be evaluated?

The BOP service is monitored and reviewed by a Steering Group of representatives from partner organisations. They look at the number of books borrowed and prescribed, feedback from prescribers and users, and any suggestions for new titles on an annual basis. BOP users can add their comments on the books via the Rate and Review link on the BOP webpage. The Steering Group will review the comments and use of the books, together with any suggestions for new titles on a six-monthly basis. In addition, the group is keen to receive any feedback on the service both from prescribers and BOP users – for contact details see Contact Us below.

Once I have a prescription, what do I do with it?

Your GP or mental health professional will give you a prescription to take to the library, where staff will help you to find the book. There are 21 libraries which have BOP collections but they can also be obtained for you free of charge from any other local library or mobile library in Warwickshire, or via the Home Library Service.

What if I’m not a member of the library?

You can join the library immediately using your book prescription. As long as your prescription has your name and address on it, you won’t be asked for further identification. And you can use your library card to borrow other books, CDs, DVDs and use computers.

How long can I borrow the books with my prescription?

BOP books are issued for 3 weeks, and this can be extended as long as no-one else is waiting. You can renew online or phone the Renewal Line 01926 499273.

What if I don’t like reading or find it difficult to find the time?

We have a selection of talking books which are a perfect alternative.

What if the book doesn’t help?

The books may not work for everyone, and you should go back to your GP or mental health professional for further advice. They will probably want to see you anyway to review your treatment.

Is the books on prescription service confidential?

It is completely confidential. Staff do not give out or keep any information about who is borrowing the book or what the book is about.

Is there a charge for the BOP service?

Book prescriptions are provided free of charge.

Can anyone else read the books without a prescription?

Yes, all the books in the BOP collections are available for anyone to read in the usual way. They are available to borrow for 3 weeks and can be renewed as long as no-one is waiting, and may be reserved at all library service points.

What else can I expect from the library?

We hope that you will enjoy visiting the library. As well as books, we have music CDs and DVDs for hire. You can also access computers and the Internet in all libraries, with the first 60 minutes free of charge to library members. Library staff can answer information queries, and libraries stock a range of leaflets and local information.

> Back to top

BOP in Warwickshire was developed by Warwickshire Library and Information Service and Warwickshire Public Health, in partnership with the IAPT (Improving Access to Psychological Therapies), Adult Mental Health Services and Warwickshire’s community and voluntary sector. Warwickshire BOP is part of Reading Well Books on Prescription, delivered by the Reading Agency in partnership with the Society of Chief Librarians, with funding from the Arts Council.

Books on prescription was last updated on September 28, 2016.