Parkes Public Library was one of three libraries in the Central West where the $71,000 pilot project ‘Books on Prescription’ was launched in Australia last Friday. This is the first bibliotherapy programme to be offered in Australia, the concept is based on the UK Books on Prescription model, adapted to our Australian environment.
The idea behind it is to help community members use reading to understand and manage their mental health and wellbeing. The 17 books in the collection have been tried and tested by people with experience of living with mental health conditions. Parkes Mayor, Councillor Ken Keith, said at the launch that mental health had always been a hidden issue, but during the millennium drought it had come to the fore in the community.
“Men are good with bottling things up. If you have access to books and material, it could offer you a solution, and reading about your problems in a book might make it more normal,” said the Mayor. Shellie Buckle, Parkes Shire Council’s Manager Cultural, Education and Library Service, said the service and collection is free and confidential. “Books on prescription build on the library’s role as a safe, non-judgemental environment for sourcing information and support.”
The collection is supported by a website, www.booksonprescription.com.au, to ensures current, timely access to mental health information. Shellie said the full collection would be kept at the Parkes Library, while Trundle, Tullamore and Peak Hill will have a selection of the books available.
The Parkes Library plans to run special events during Mental Health month in October promoting books that boost your mood.
By Maggi Barnard