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Islington libraries launch new scheme to support people living with long-term conditions

Neil MacInnes (Society of Chief Librarians), Debbie Hicks (Reading Agency) and Cllr Janet Burgess

Neil MacInnes (Society of Chief Librarians), Debbie Hicks (Reading Agency) and Cllr Janet Burgess

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At a time when more than 26 million people in England report to have at least one long term condition, Islington’s Central Library has launched a new scheme to support local residents with expert-endorsed books available to borrow for free.

Reading Well for Long Term Conditions is part of the successful Reading Well Books on Prescription programme provided by national charity the Reading Agency. It has a recommended reading list of 28 books that were selected by health experts and people living with long term conditions. 

All 28 titles on the Reading Well list are available from Central Library in Fieldway Crescent and the books will also be rolled out to other Islington libraries over the summer.

The list includes health information, memoir and self-management titles and covers conditions such as diabetes, stroke and heart disease, as well as common symptoms such as fatigue, pain, wellbeing and sleep problems.

Developed with health experts and people living with long-term conditions and their carers, the new Reading Well scheme encourages people to take an active role in making decisions about their health, and understanding and managing a range of long term their conditions.

Councillor Janet Burgess, Islington Council's executive member for health & social care, said “I am very proud to launch this new reading list, which is yet another example of the many ways Islington libraries help improve the lives of our residents.

"This new addition builds on the success and popularity of many of our other Reading Well lists, including mental health support for young people, mood-boosting books and the carers’ collection.

"The benefits of reading often go unrecognised, but reading for pleasure is associated with higher academic achievement, improved employability and better mental health – as well as offering the perfect way to relax at the end of the day.”

At the launch of the new list on July 3, Debbie Hicks, Creative Director of the Reading Agency, thanked Tony Brown, one of Islington’s libraries managers, for his hard work and input into the national Reading Well scheme.

The new Reading Well for Long Term Conditions list forms part of the Islington Reads programme, a collaboration between Islington Council, communities and local voluntary organisations, which aims to increase the uptake of reading amongst residents of all ages and walks of life through programmes like book swaps, reading schemes, supporting book groups, and reading volunteers.

To find out more about Islington libraries and what’s on, please visit, follow us on Twitter @islingtonlibs, or speak to your local library.

For further information please contact:
Chris Roe, Senior Media Officer
Tel: 020 7527 8751 
Mob/out of hours: 07769 163303 
Follow us on Twitter @IslingtonBC and @IslingtonLife