• What is bibliotherapy?

    Some people have different views but my understanding is that the word and concept of bibliotherapy is like an umbrella concept– that covers a range of meanings. In psychology it is used for cognitive behavioural therapy using self-help books and discussion with a therapist. The Latin roots of biblio- book or text- and therapy – well, therapy, are quite broad.

    Many librarians in health and public libraries are adding to the existing service of self-help or books on prescription services, by giving book chats or reading group services, like Wee read offers.

    In my research I learned the various models of bibliotherapy from Debbie Hicks, I took her idea of creative bibliotherapy and ran with it. Reading from imaginative literature, fiction and poetry are the basis. I write as well as read and that makes it all the better, I think.Research in this area continues apace, here is a link to work at Oxford Brookes University

    Librarians are very keen on creative bibliotherapy, and the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals has done a lot to support it. Here, in a blog by Julie Walker of Kirklees libraries, a common use of the term bibliotherapy is explained, using fiction and poetry for wellbeing or therapeutic purposes. here description of this group work with public libraries is very informative and she recommends using a  toolkit- so the Lapidus and NHS Education Words Work Well bibliotherapy toolkit is definitely a useful resource.

    The Network is a group for library and other workers aiming to tackle social exclusion. Creative bibliotherapy in groups is one way of doing this- inviting folk in to a wee read, for a chat about whatever poems or stories are appropriate that day. I have been known to say, I can do bibliotherapy with a bus ticket! Well, there’s a story there about a journey, link to memories of others’ journeys- there’s a book chat for you!







Born in 1958 and brought up in Blantyre in a family of seven. Moved to Glasgow in 1976 and stayed until 2012. Then I moved back to Hamilton where I had attended secondary school, for 4 years. Home is now Glasgow, again, I am a weegie through 'n through. I have two daughters, and four granddaughters who all light up my life. My experience of working with poetry, writing, reading and so on is from my childhood. One of my poems was published in a school magazine when I was 12. I am now trying to publish my first grown-up booklet of poems within the next year or so. I trained and studied to become a librarian from 1977. It was the one job I wanted since reading in Hamilton Townhouse Library in the early 1970's!I watched the staff and thought, I'd like to work here... Bibliotherapy came into my life in 2007, at Glasgow Women's Library.


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