Judit H. Ward is a Science Librarian at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. In addition to providing reference, teaching library research, and hosting outreach programs, she promotes reading for mental health and wellness. In her previous position as the Director of Information Services at the Rutgers Center of Alcohol Studies she developed “Reading for Recovery,” a bibliotherapy-inspired tool for people grappling with addiction as the recipient of an ALA Carnegie-Whitney Award in 2014. She has presented her research and practice related to guided reading from the librarian’s perspective both nationally and internationally. She is the author or co-author of over 150 articles and seven books, including two bibliotherapy readers in her native Hungarian. She received her MLIS from Rutgers, after earning a PhD in Linguistics and an MA in English and Hungarian Literature and Linguistics from the University of Debrecen, Hungary.
- About the Authors
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.