The Librarian’s Guide to Bibliotherapy

ALA Editions. Nov. 2023. 224p. ISBN 9780838936627. pap. $49.99. PRO MEDIA
Ward (science librarian, Rutgers Univ.) and Allred (English, Fairfield Univ.) blend the academic pathfinder, subject bibliography, and basic readers’ advisory services in this 160-page roadmap that empowers librarians to design a range of bibliotherapy-informed programs. The authors define bibliotherapy as the use of guided reading for therapeutic purposes; bibliotherapy collections might include fiction as well as nonfiction resources for patrons seeking reliable information on issues like mental health and substance-use disorder. Over the course of 11 chapters, Ward and Allred outline bibliotherapy programs for patrons’ different needs, including questions relating to emotional and mental health, behavior, counseling, gender, and sexuality. They discuss the historical roots of bibliotherapy, active and passive programming styles, and strategies for organizing, establishing, marketing, and sustaining bibliotherapy programs. Readers will likely appreciate the practical discussions about planning, programming, and marketing, as well as the five templates included in the appendixes (program, discussion guide, event planning, event playbook, and marketing). Even so, some might appreciate a template for program evaluation and a sample bibliotherapy bibliography.
VERDICT Primarily a professional how-to resource, this handbook will be most useful for special, public, and academic librarians supporting self-help, health care, counseling, and social work programs.
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