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R4R @ Rutgers: Reading for Recovery

R4R is a resource geared towards those interested in the use of bibliotherapy, i. e., guided reading, for substance use problems. It was created at the Rutgers Center of Alcohol Studies Library in 2015-2016 with the help of an ALA Carnegie-Whitney grant.

Highlights: Scholarly Books

Reference Books and Encyclopedias

Scholarly Articles on Bibliotherapy

Apodaca, T. R., & Miller, W. R. (2003). A meta-analysis of the effectiveness of bibliotherapy for alcohol problems. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 59(3), 289-304.
This article presents a meta-analysis of 22 studies on the effectiveness of self-help techniques, including bibliotherapy, in the treatment of alcohol problems that have been conducted over the past three decades. Small to medium positive effect was found in bibliotherapy patients as compared to the control group that received no treatment. The authors conclude that bibliotherapy presents a cost-effective option for the treatment of drinkers seeking help in reducing their consumption of alcohol. 

Brewster, L. (2009). Reader development and mental wellbeing: The accidental bibliotherapist. Australasian Public Libraries  and Information Services, 22(1), 13-16. 
In this article, Brewster places bibliotherapy within a longstanding tradition of librarians matching the right book to the right reader at the right time.  Using the same professional techniques that help them to serve and respond to the needs of all their readers, including collection development and readers’ advisory skills as well as expertise in leading book groups, Brewster notes that librarians are well-situated to serve in an unofficial capacity in the facilitation of bibliotherapy treatment. 

Levin, L., & Gildea, R. (2013). Bibliotherapy: Tracing the roots of a moral therapy movement in the United States from the early nineteenth century to the present. Journal of the Medical Library Association, 101(2), 89-91. 
In this article, the authors trace the origins of bibliotherapy in the United States from early writings by one of the nation’s founding fathers, Doctor Benjamin Rush, who recommended the use of reading in the treatment of psychiatric patients, all the way up to its present role in today’s hospitals.  Providing a fascinating look back at the long history of bibliotherapy, the article presents it as a treatment that has truly stood the test of time, one that represents a tried and true means of helping patients suffering from a variety of ailments.    

Macdonald, J., Vallance, D., & McGrath, M. (2013). An evaluation of a collaborative bibliotherapy scheme delivered via a library service. Journal of Psychiatric & Mental Health Nursing, 20(10), 857-865.
This article reports on Read Yourself Well, a bibliotherapy program designed to help adults with mild to moderate mental health problems.  Delivered through a public library, the program treated patients referred by their general practice doctors, local social welfare agencies, and those who were self-referred.  Results of the study, which included more than 150 participants, showed that members showed significant improvement by the end of the program, including individuals from all three referral routes, both men and women, and both those who were already library users and those who joined specifically  to participate in the program.        

Walwyn, O., & Rowley, J. (2011). The value of therapeutic reading groups organized by public libraries. Library & Information Science Research, 33(4), 302-312.
This article examines the benefits of bibliotherapy conducted as part of reading groups at public libraries.  Conducting  interviews with fourteen participants, the authors report that participants were very positive about their experiences. They highlighted a number of benefits, which generally fell into one of two groups, relating to reading (and, more broadly, access books), and group interaction.  The experiences of participants were found to lead to increased self-assurance and self-esteem and were also correlated with increased social inclusion and economic activity. 


Miscellanous Titles of Interest for Addiction Professionals


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