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"The Impact of the Reading Well for Young People Scheme in UK Secondary School Libraries: a case study using Diffusion of Innovations theory to understand the adoption of self-help bibliotherapy schemes by students." C. Mulhall. L. N. Smith. Department of Computer and Information Sciences, University of Strathclyde. 2017. Download PDF (BibTeX) ILS

The overall purpose of this study was to identify influences on the impact of self-help bibliotherapy schemes delivered by school libraries, in order to develop a set of recommendations for school librarians delivering the Reading Agency's Reading Well for Young People scheme. This was with the aim of supporting delivery to reach more students who may benefit from using the scheme. This study used qualitative research methods, with four UK secondary school libraries as case studies, two of which ran the Reading Well for Young People scheme and two which had developed their own self-help bibliotherapy schemes. Diffusion of Innovations theory was used to explain the adoption decisions of students with access to self-help bibliotherapy schemes through their school library.

The study highlighted a number of influences on students' adoption decisions which informed a set of recommendations. The recommendations advise that consideration is given to the following: students' need for anonymity and autonomy when accessing information about mental health; students' preference for reading self-help books in the library rather than borrowing them; stigma around mental health and embarrassment about being observed using self-help schemes. The recommendations also describe approaches to challenges and barriers identified in the findings. These are to designate a more secluded area of the library where students can read books from the scheme's collection without feeling they are being observed; monitoring use of the scheme by checking the shelf positions of books before and after busy periods; and seeking feedback about the impact of the scheme from school counselling and/or pastoral staff and providing a means for students to give anonymous feedback. In addition, the recommendations describe approaches to working with other school staff to facilitate delivery and increase reach. These are to provide user leaflets to colleagues including pastoral, SEN and teaching staff, school counsellors and school nurses; communicate with these colleagues to identify students who may benefit from the scheme; and signpost students to school counsellors and/or pastoral staff for further support.

The overall findings suggest that by considering student perceptions, challenges and barriers, and influences that help to facilitate delivery, school librarians can deliver schemes in a way that reaches more students who may benefit from using RWFYP.