Service users & carers

Accessible information for Service Users and Carers on Covid-19 can be found here:

Recovery College for All 

The library service has worked with experts by experience (service users with a lived experience of mental health issues) to deliver the “Reading for Wellbeing” course at the Recovery College. f you are a member of staff, carer or service user, you are welcome to attend this course. For further information, view the current Recovery College for All Prospectus

We have purchased several resources for reference such as  “A research handbook for patient and public involvement researchers“, edited by: Penny Bee, Helen Brooks, Patrick Callaghan and Karina Lovell.  The title is also available as free online e-book and can be accessed via Manchester University Press website.

About this title: 

[taken from the ‘Forward’ (p.4) and ‘How this book came about’ (p.7) sections].
This handbook is written for patients and members of the public who want to understand more about the approaches, methods and language used by health-services researchers. Patient and public involvement (PPI) in research is now a requirement of most major health-research programmes, and this book is designed to equip these individuals with the knowledge and skills necessary for meaningful participation. Edited by award-winning mental-health researchers, the book has been produced in partnership with mental-health-service users and carers with experience of research involvement.

This book was developed during a five-year research programme funded by the UK’s National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). This study aimed to improve service user and carer involvement in care planning in mental health services. The study was called Enhancing the Quality of User Involved Care Planning in Mental Health Services (EQUIP).

This book has been made available under a Creative Commons (CC-BY-NC-ND)  licence which permits non-commercial use, distribution and reproduction provided the  editor(s), chapter author(s) and Manchester University Press are fully cited. Full licence available here:

In addition, the library subscribes to ‘Asylum Magazine’ – you can browse previous issues of the journal here but if you require access to the latest edition, please contact Uffculme Library.

Uffculme Library 
An open access computer has been set up at the Uffculme Library for use by those attending the recovery college courses, including service users and carers. Some service users have started using the library as a base to do reading and research while attending recovery college courses.

You can download a short guide about library services that are available for Service users and Carers attending the Recovery College.

Books on Wards
The library service has been working with Birmingham City Council’s ‘Library Services at Home’ team to facilitate the provision of a regular book collection for interested inpatient services.

The library team have also helped with setting up a service user-led library service at Ardenleigh and continue to support the Occupational Therapists and service users involved in this.

If you would like the team to help your unit, please contact us.

Reading initiatives

The Reading Agency hold a reading challenge every year (currently named ‘Reading Ahead’) in which people are encouraged to read at least six books, poems or articles. They can complete a reading diary and enter a prize draw. For a number of years the library service has offered packs of quick read books and reading diaries to wards and units so that service users have the opportunity to participate. Staff have also participated in these reading challenges.   You can read more about Reading Agency challenges here

Picture of Martina Cole

Popular crime fiction author Martina Cole spoke to service users and staff about her books at the Barberry. This event was well attended and created a shared sense of excitement among both service users and staff who enjoy reading her books.




Wellbeing-themed stories and poems
Obtain suggestions as to wellbeing themed stories and poems, for use by individuals  or in groups. The online collection is available here:


Reading Well book collections
These are self-help books compiled by the Reading Agency in partnership with healthcare professionals and people with lived experience of healthcare conditions. There are five booklists available and titles can be borrowed from public libraries.

In addition, if you just want to read to raise your mood, the Reading Agency have gathered together recommendations for titles that can be borrowed from local public libraries or can be downloaded as eBooks.  The collection is continually being added to – further information can be found here:

Birmingham Libraries and Solihull (public) Libraries both provide a large range of books that can be accessed online by their members. Books are available on health and wellbeing topics as well as a wide range of other subjects. Membership of the libraries and loan of the e-books is free. If you are not a member, membership for use of e-books can be obtained online by filling out a simple registration form. Click on the links to the guides below for examples of some of the eBooks available and further information on how to access them:

Birmingham and Solihull (public) Libraries both provide a wide range of magazines that can be accessed online by their members. Magazines are available to suit all tastes, with subjects ranging from gardening and crafts to technology, science, family history and recipes. Membership of the libraries and loan of the e-magazines is free. If you are not a member, membership for use of e-magazines can be obtained online by filling out a simple registration form. Click on the links to the guides below for examples of some of the eMagazines available and further information on how to access them:

eNewspapers and eComics
The public libraries also offer a range of comics that can be read online and a wide selection of newspapers in many different languages.

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