Tag Archives: The Reading Agency

Health Education England collaborates with library and reading experts to improve patient choice

Health Education England (HEE) has signed a memorandum of understanding with leading organisations in the library and reading arena in a bid to promote greater and more personalised healthcare literacy across the population.


HEE will work with the Society of Chief Librarians and The Reading Agency to promote the importance of health literacy. The three organisations will work together to devise and launch programmes that allow people to access personalised information that allows them to make more informed choices about their care and treatment and improve the quality of their life.


The Society of Chief Librarians leads and manages public libraries in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and advocates continuous improvement in the library service. Its membership is made up of heads of service at each library authority.


The Reading Agency is a national charity inspiring people of all ages and all backgrounds to read for pleasure and empowerment. Working with partners, their aim is to make reading accessible to everyone.


The provision of high quality, evidence-based, accessible health information is an important driver in HEE’s Knowledge for Healthcare Framework for NHS library and knowledge services, published in 2015. The framework was developed to enable NHS bodies, staff, learners, patients and the public to use the right knowledge and evidence at the right time and place to enable better clinical decision-making.


Patrick Mitchell, Director, South of England, Health Education England said:

“I am delighted to sign the Memorandum of Understanding with the Society of Chief Librarians and The Reading Agency. It is a very positive step towards collaborating across sectors to underpin health literacy, ensuring people can access high quality information to assist them to make informed choices about their care and treatment.”


Sue Wilkinson, Chief Executive of The Reading Agency, commented:

“It is with great pleasure that we are able to formalise this important new partnership with Health Education England. We look forward to using the MOU to activate an exciting programme of activity supporting our shared work with the Society of Chief Librarians on Reading Well and the Universal Health Offer as well as HEE’s ambitions for the delivery of Patient and Public Information.”


Neil MacInnes, President of The Society of Librarians, added:

“It’s wonderful news that SCL and The Reading Agency’s work with HEE has now been formally ratified. Our partnership will strengthen the delivery of Reading Well and the Universal Health Offer through public libraries – keeping people in our communities active and engaged as we continue to support their health and wellbeing.”


For further information contact louise.goswami@nhs.net or Ruth.Carlyle@hee.nhs.uk

Mood-boosting Books for 2016


For several years The Reading Agency (TRA) has been running the Mood-boosting Books initiative which is based on the idea that reading poetry and novels can reduce stress and boost mood.

The 2016 Mood-boosting Books list was officially launched on Monday 18th January – otherwise known as Blue Monday.

Last year, TRA was keen to have representation by librarians on the selection panel to choose books for the new list. As a result of partnership-building work on the part of the K4H Patient and Public Information Task and Finish Group, led by Carol-Ann Regan, we were invited to send someone from NHS libraries to join the panel. So in December I joined Karen MacPherson, Programme co-ordinator at TRA, together with three of her colleagues and the Reader Development Co-ordinator from Greenwich Libraries, at TRA’s offices in the Free Word Centre at Farringdon.

TRA had called for suggestions from reading groups and individuals; anyone was free to suggest their own personal favourite title, and from these a shortlist of 40 books was created. The job of the panel was to reduce it to 25 for the final list. The shortlist was very wide-ranging and as a panel we had read pretty much all the books between us, and all of them were worthy contenders. We agreed that the “mood-boosting” factor is quite subjective but by the end of the day, after lots of discussion, the list had been whittled down to 25 and we were all pleased with it.

Over past years a number of NHS libraries have used the Mood-boosting Books initiative to work with service users and staff in creative ways.  As well as being recommended for anybody who feels the need for a mood boost in these darker days at the end of winter, possible uses include working with groups as part of a therapeutic book group. Participating in the selection panel brought the opportunity to talk a little at the forum about some of the wider work with service users that goes on in NHS libraries, the range of which is evident from the PPI Ideas Bank.

For libraries who would like to explore the potential in this scheme, the booklist and posters can be printed off here.

Cathy Marsden
Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership Trust