The Librarian's Guide to Bibliotherapy

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The bibliotherapy-informed practices, programs, and events outlined in this guide will help librarians support the mental health and personal growth of their patrons.

Bibliotherapy can be defined as the use of guided reading for therapeutic ends. And though you might not be a licensed mental health professional, you can—and do, even without knowing it—support mental health and personal growth by connecting patrons to books that heal. Regardless of your previous experience or existing skills, this guide will empower you to make “shelf help” a part of your library's relationship with its community. Drawing on Reading for Recovery, the authors' own Carnegie-Whitney grant-funded project, this guide 

  • begins with an overview of bibliotherapy, including its concepts and history, and sketches out how its various approaches can be adapted for library settings;
  • explores the potential of bibliotherapy as an add-on to existing skills, services, practices, and collections;
  • demonstrates how bibliotherapy-inspired initiatives can address the needs of diverse communities, thus advancing libraries' commitment to EDISJ;
  • offers techniques for selecting reading material for your audience with bibliotherapy in mind;
  • provides a range of possible programs, from group discussions and public events to book displays and reading lists, along with a step-by-step approach to planning and implementing them;
  • shares outreach tips, tools, and branding ideas to make the most of your resources and effectively reach your audience;
  • demonstrates how to use assessment tools to test and tweak your program at every stage to achieve the results you want; and
  • inspires you to take your offerings into new directions, such as creative writing and visual art programs, that fit your library and community.

Imprint: ALA Editions

Published: Fall 2023

Pages: 160

Sku: 9780838936627

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