National charity, The Reading Agency, launches compelling, new Reading Well for dementia book collection


The Reading Agency launches Reading Well for dementia, an innovative, curated collection of books and resources designed to harness the power of reading to support the health and wellbeing of those affected by the condition. The book collection launches, in partnership with public libraries, during Dementia Action Week (13-19 May 2024), which inspires people across the country to take action on dementia.  

Understanding and knowledge of dementia via high-quality, book-based information and advice can play an important role in supporting people affected by dementia, particularly in the context where one in two will be affected by dementia in their lifetime [1]. Reading Well for dementia provides an up-to-date resource that reflects national clinical guidelines, best practice, advice and support. The new collection comprises 20 titles in England and 21 in Wales, which are carefully selected and endorsed by health experts, charities and people affected by dementia. It includes essential information and personal accounts to boost understanding of the condition for people living with dementia, along with resources for carers and age-appropriate books for children.

Available for free loan from public libraries in England and Wales, the scheme aims to improve lives through the power of reading. Reading Well titles are available for anyone to borrow from public libraries across England and Wales. Relevant professionals can also recommend titles to support individuals and families.




Evidence has shown that Reading Well delivers hugely positive impacts:

  • Over 3.8 million Reading Well books have been borrowed from libraries.
  • 92% of responding users found their book helpful.
  • 81% said their book helped them to understand more about their health needs.
  • 90% of health professionals surveyed said the books helped to provide valuable support for their patients and carers outside of consultation time [2]


Library User being shown Reading Well books


Angela Rippon CBE, award-winning journalist and broadcaster and Reading Well for dementia ambassador says: “I’ve become very involved in the world of dementia awareness after caring for my late mother who had the disease. I’m delighted The Reading Agency has developed this book collection to encourage people to read about dementia. When my mother developed dementia 20 years ago, I knew very little about it. I needed a great deal of help to learn how to cope and to help my mother live well with the disease. I believe Reading Well for dementia will be a step forward. The books are going to be the catalyst that will bring people together, inform them and educate them to become much more aware and most importantly, less frightened of what a future with dementia holds.”

Karen Napier, CEO, The Reading Agency said: “The launch, during Dementia Action Week, of our new book collection, is a significant new development of The Reading Agency’s health and wellbeing offer. Written specifically for those living with dementia, their carers and loved ones of all ages, we believe that this unique, new, quality-assured book-based resource available from public libraries could play an important role in supporting the wider community affected by dementia.”

Dr Tim Beanland, Head of Knowledge and Learning, Alzheimer’s Society said: “The new Reading Well for dementia book collection will help to improve the lives of the growing number of people affected by dementia and we are delighted to see The Reading Agency supporting Dementia Action Week by taking action on dementia in such a practical and positive way.” 

Isobel Hunter MBE, CEO, Libraries Connected “As libraries continue to increase their important role supporting dementia in communities, Reading Well for dementia is one of the many initiatives of the Public Library Universal Health and Wellbeing Offer, a national strategy that promotes the role that libraries can play in promoting the health and wellbeing of local communities. Libraries provide access to books and also contribute positively to inclusivity, supporting wellbeing and strengthening community cohesion.”




Co-production partner Innovations in Dementia has ensured the views of people affected by dementia informed all aspects of developing this book collection. Keith Oliver, Innovations in Dementia said: “Reading other people’s lived experience, both as a family carer and as a person with dementia, does help you to know that you’re not alone. There’s also the reassurance that everyone’s experience is different. So, you learn about similarities from these books, but also you draw some strength from the fact that you’re different.”

The full Reading Well for dementia list is available now at libraries across England and Wales, with titles also accessible as e-books and audiobooks. For more information, visit


[1]Office of Health Economics, London. Dementia in the UK report June 2023.

[2] The Reading Agency (2022) Reading Well in 2022: evaluation infographic


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