RESIDENTS in need of bibliotherapy and well-being are being brought together in Northwich through the power of literature.

Northwich Library has set up Relish Reading Group to help people going through a rough patch.

Eleanor Moss, from the library, said: “It’s a well-being reading group for people who may be going through a bit of a tough time and may want a reason to go out, meet people and use a facility they’ve not necessarily thought about using before.

“It may be that someone has lost someone recently and is grieving or going through a bad spell and this is something that can help them.

“Reading is just a bit of an excuse for a get-together.”

The idea of bibliotherapy came about through research done at the University of Liverpool.

It started as a way to break down barriers for people using the library at the same time as improving people’s mental well-being and building a community.

Eleanor said: “Sometimes people feel intimidated about going into different places and feel they may not be particularly welcome.

“It’s about breaking down those barriers.

“People can get to know staff so when they come in, it’s a friendly face behind the counter.”

Eleanor emphasised that people should not be put off joining the group by thinking it would be high-brow.

“People worry that they may be expected to give serious literary criticism but they will not,” she said.

“This group is about what they’re thinking and feeling about the characters and the plot.

“It’s a very relaxed conversation we have about it all.

“Our conversations start off on books and go on to all sorts of things.”

Relish, which stands for REad, LIsten and SHare, is held every Monday at 2pm and people do not have to join in with reading aloud or with discussion if they do not want to.

The group has seven commandments, which are: You don’t have to read aloud There are no right or wrong answers Sometimes the text can be very strong and generate strong feelings It’s OK to cry It’s OK to fall asleep You can leave whenever you want What is said in the session stays in the session