• Biblia = book; Therapia = healing• “The use of reading materials for help in solving personal problems or for psychiatric therapy; also : the reading materials so used” 1• Beginning of the 20th century saw bibliotherapy in settings other than mental health institutions• American Library Association formed its first committee on bibliotherapy in 1939 1. Bibliotherapy. The Merriam-Webster online dictionary. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/bibliotherapy
• Clinical vs. developmental• Self-help, creative, or informal• Commonly used with those recovering from addictions, grieving, depression, abuse, and trauma or PTSD• May be individual, with the use of a treatment team, or with a reading group
• Book talks for young adults through contemporary realistic fiction• Set up library displays for collections• Research authors before recommending their material for therapy• Suggest prescription reading pads for clinicians• Build relationships with therapists and clinicians in the hospital/institution or local community
• Lack of guidelines for its use• Concern over unqualified librarians performing a diagnosis or providing treatment• Misinformation in material• May “do more harm than good”
• Nonfiction books should be evidence-based• Reading comprehension and interests must be considered• Recommendations should be personalized and may be evaluated with other health care professionals
With effective and careful bibliotherapy, health science libraries “can vicariously help to resolvetroubling issues or hidden feelings in an effective yet harmless way.” 2 2. Brewster L. Reader development and mental wellbeing: the accidental bibliotherapist. Australasian Public Libraries and Information Services. 2009; 22(1): 13-16.