Libraries - Health information

Health information

Coronavirus (COVID-19): change to service

Following advice from the government regarding the  Coronavirus (COVID-19) we have started reopening our libraries, see the latest Library service information

See further information about changes to services

Your health is important. Poole libraries have lots of different resources to help you stay fit and healthy - and all are completely free.

Finding health information

Check out our catalogue any time to see what books we have - if the book you want is on loan you can reserve it online. We have books on general health and specific ailments, keeping fit and healthy eating.

Reading Well - Books on Prescription

Reading Well Books on Prescription provides self-help reading for adults based on cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) for a range of common mental health conditions - including anxiety, depression, phobias and some eating disorders - where there is evidence that reading a self-help book can be effective treatment.

Reading Well for Young People recommends expert endorsed books about mental health, providing 13-18 year olds with advice and information about issues like anxiety, stress and OCD, and difficult experiences like bullying and exams. The books have all been recommended by young people and health professionals. Find free Shelf Help in your local library.

Reading Well Books on Prescription for Dementiaprovides books to support people living with dementia and their families, friends and carers.

Reading Well for Long Term Conditions provides information and support for people living with long term conditions and their carers. The booklist covers general advice and information about living with a long term condition, common symptoms and titles focused on specific conditions such as arthritis, bowel conditions, diabetes, heart disease and stroke. The books have all been recommended by people with lived experience of long term conditions and health professionals.

GPs and other health professionals can recommend, or ‘prescribe’, a book for a particular condition, or you can just choose to read any of the books without a prescription.

You can borrow any of the recommended books from any Poole library. If you are not yet a library member you will need to join the library first. This is quick, easy and free and library staff will give you any help you need. If the book you want is out on loan to someone else you can reserve it free of charge.

Borrower details and book loans are strictly confidential information. Library staff will treat your prescription with respect and discretion. You can ask someone to pick up your book prescription for you if you prefer.

Some of the books on the scheme may provide worksheets for the reader to fill in. Please photocopy the relevant sections and do not write in the books directly. There are photocopying facilities provided in most libraries for a small charge. Ask your library staff if you are unsure how to do this.

Services for people living with dementia

We offer:

  • Reading Well Books on Prescription for Dementia – a core reading list to support people with dementia, their families and carers (see above), which can be recommended by GPs and other health professionals or borrowed by anyone. Here is the booklist on our catalogue - just click on the title to find out which libraries have it
  • a special library card which enables people with dementia to borrow books for up to six weeks, instead of the usual three
  • a range of books on dementia
  • a complete set of Pictures to Share books. These books are large format and contain high quality images accompanied by a few lines of text. Each picture in the books has been chosen to help jog memories, spark comments and bring pleasure to the reader.
  • borrow audio books, music CD's and DVD's free of charge (2 per visit)
  • a free Home Library Service for people unable to visit the library themselves, and for carers. Volunteers visit every 3 weeks with books or audio books for you to enjoy.
  • weekly shared reading groups – come and listen to stories and poems being read aloud, and have a cup of tea and a chat

If you go to the Dementia Action Alliance website, you can see what we have signed up to (remember to click on both the Action Plan and Actions tabs).

The South West area of the Alzheimer’s Society offers information and support, and runs a number of memory cafes in the area.

Dorset HealthCare Memory Loss and Dementia Services provide support for people with memory problems or dementia, as well as their carers.

Adult Social Care Factsheets

Adult Social Care are reviewing their written information and are reproducing their leaflets in a new, clearer, factsheet format. Factsheets contain concise information and details of where to access advice regarding each subject.

You can download copies of our Adult Social Care factsheets, or you can request a paper copy by calling 01202 123654 or emailing

Skills and Learning Living Well Courses

Skills and Learning Adult Community Education Dorset are taking part in a research project. They are testing out whether short, part-time community learning courses help people develop strategies to manage their mild to moderate mental health problems (like stress, worry, anxiety, and depression). Their Living Well courses are available across Bournemouth, Dorset and Poole and focus on self-help, lifestyle, confidence building, progression and employability. They also offer an opportunity to meet new people, learn new skills and develop new interests. For more information about taking part in these courses visit the Skills and Learning website.

Page last updated: 29 January 2021
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