Dementia Awareness Week 2017


Hot on the winged heels of Mental Health Awareness week (thank you to all colleagues and partners who helped get that information out there) we are promoting Dementia Awareness Week (14 to 21 May 2017), an Alzheimer’s Society initiative, in our libraries.  There are so many myths around Dementia and that is why we recommend the Reading Well books on prescription dementia list.

This is a varied carefully chosen collection consisting of evidenced and researched information books, alongside fascinating and moving personal histories. It also includes a children’s picture book to help younger readers understand beloved members of their families who have been diagnosed with one of 100 conditions that come under the umbrella of Dementia.  Check out the craft book for creative ways of engaging those living well with Dementia.  It is a helpful and uplifting collection.

The second initiative I want tell you about is the Dementia Friends sessions happening this week which are run by a trained Dementia champion. They are relaxed and informative sessions that engage us in such a way that unhelpful fears and misinformation around the subject can be openly discussed and real facts and practical tips on creating Dementia friendly services and how to reach out and support those living well with Dementia come to light.

There are Dementia Friends sessions later this week  at two libraries in our neighbouring borough, Westminster.  These sessions are open to everyone and I urge you to recommend them or even come along yourself:

◾Tuesday 16 May, 1pm at Pimlico Library
◾Friday 19 May, 11am at Church Street Library

Kate Gielgud
Health Information Co-ordinator


Reading Well in Kensington & Chelsea

Reading Well logo


Following the Reading Agency launch of the Reading Well Books on Prescription Dementia Collection on Monday 26 January, libraries across the three boroughs gave community and health partners, as well as members of the public, the chance to find out about our Reading Well initiatives, with collection launches at five libraries.

The first launch event was at Pimlico Library (read more on Books & the City) and the final two took place at Hammersmith and Fulham libraries (read more on LBHF Libraries). Nestled between were the launches in Kensington and Chelsea:

North Kensington launch of Books on Prescription Dementia Collection
North Kensington launch of Reading Well – Books on Prescription Dementia Collection


The first Kensington launch was at North Kensington Library on 4 February, a lunchtime event with partners from the Stroke Association, Age UK, the Kensington and Chelsea and Westminster Memory Service, Open Age, West African Women’s network development and the Depression Alliance.  The Remembering Together display was on show and attracted a lot of interest.

North Kensington display including Books on Prescription core and Dementia Collections, plus Mood Boosting Books
North Kensington display including Books on Prescription core and Dementia Collections, plus Mood Boosting Books


Then it was the turn of Brompton Library on 6 February, led by librarian Stephanie Webb and Diane Sherlock, author of Come into the Garden. Stephanie and Diane led a discussion on Reading Well Books on Prescription over tea and scones with members of the public who shared their own experiences of caring for relatives with dementia. Kathryn Gilfoy from Westminster Arts answered questions about living well with dementia, Kathryn runs the memory cafes in north and south Westminster. Diane read some of her poems.

Five different launches in different libraries in the three boroughs, only made possible by joint working with library staff and health and community partners.

Very warm thanks to Silva, Adisa, Gaynor and Besant at North Kensington, Katie and Stephanie at  Brompton and all colleagues! Thanks to Diane Sherlock and Nell Dunn who donated their time and to Kathryn and Freya from Westminster Arts. Thanks to the Stroke Association who donate their time and resources to help prevent vascular dementia by preventing stroke.

Libraries are doing their bit for Dementia.  If you would like to join the Dementia Alliance, contact

[Kate Gielgud]


Reading Well Books on Prescription

What is Reading Well Books on Prescription?

Books on Prescription
Books on Prescription

Self-help books can help people understand and manage common conditions, including depression and anxiety. Individuals with mild to moderate mental health conditions often use self-help books as an early intervention or additional treatment.

The Books on Prescription scheme includes a core list of self-help books, which are based on Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) to help individuals understand and cope with a range of common conditions. Professor Neil Frude, a clinical psychologist, first developed it in Cardiff and there has been a national scheme in Wales since 2005.

For a full list of these self-help books visit the Reading Agency website.

The Reading Well Books on Prescription scheme will be launched in June 2013, as the first national scheme for England and all self-help books and other resources for the scheme will be available in all Kensington and Chelsea libraries.

Reading Well logo
Reading Well logo

Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea Books on Prescription Launch event

For a chance to know more about the Scheme and an opportunity to meet and network with key health professionals:

  • Wednesday 5 June, 2pm to 4pm
  • Brompton Library
    210 Old Brompton Road
    London SW5 0BS

Which topics does the Books on Prescription scheme cover?

  • anger
  • anxiety
  • binge eating/ Bulimia Nervosa
  • chronic fatigue
  • chronic pain
  • depression
  • health anxiety
  • obsessions and ompulsiocns
  • panic
  • phobias
  • relationship problems
  • self-esteem
  • social phobia
  • sleep problems
  • stress
  • worry

How does Reading Well Books on Prescription work?

Books can be recommended by your GP, psychological well-being practitioner or another health professional using the form attached to the user guide – you can find this in your local library or your local GP.

Individuals can then take their book recommendation to the library, where the book can be borrowed for free. If the book is not available, it can be reserved for you free of charge and the library will let you know when it arrives. Free reservations are available in most libraries.

Some people may also use the self-help books independently as a first step in seeking help.

Choosing a book
Choosing a book

What if I am not a library member, can I still borrow a book?

Yes you can. Joining is quick and easy when you go to the library to collect the book.  You will be asked to complete a short membership form and provide one form of identification such as a driver’s licence, passport or bank card.  If you need any assistance to complete the membership form or borrow a book, the library staff will be available to help you.

How long can I borrow a book for?

Books can be borrowed for three weeks and renewed a further four times.

Can books really help?

Research shows that reading improves mental well-being, and reduces stress levels by 67 per cent (Mindlab International, 2009). Also, there is strong evidence from the National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) that self-help reading can help people with common mental health conditions, such as anxiety and depression.

For more information about this research visit the Reading Agency website.

The books provide helpful information and step-by-step self-help techniques for managing common conditions, including depression and anxiety. Although books can sometimes work on their own, research has shown that self-help approaches work best when there is support from a health professional.

The books on the scheme have all been recommended by experts. They have been tried, tested and found to be useful.

Man reading book
Man reading book

What if the book doesn’t help?

If you find that the book you are reading is not helping, you should contact your GP or health professional for further advice.

You can also visit:

How can I tell you what I think of the scheme or the book I borrowed?

We would like to hear from you about your experience with the scheme and the recommended books, as this will help us to improve. You can contact us by email: or  for information or questions about the scheme.

Also services available in the libraries include: