A GROUND-breaking scheme which encourages people to dose themselves on pages of books instead of pills has been backed by Kirklees Council.
Kirklees Libraries introduced bibliotherapists five years ago to promote the health benefits of reading.
Prescribing books instead of medicine to help reduce stress, anxiety and depression was a novel idea that attracted local and national publicity.
The scheme had relied on various pots of external temporary funding to survive.
But now it has been made permanent and Kirklees Council is funding three bibliotherapist posts.
Catherine Morris, the principal library manager who introduced the scheme, said: "It is wonderful news that we no longer need to keep having to find new pots of money from outside the council to keep the scheme running.
"It is acknowledgement that the methods work and a tribute to the efforts and hard work of the bibliotherapists who deliver the service.
"The scheme is a lifeline for some people at a very difficult time in their lives and we are so glad that the money has been found to continue this very important work."
The scheme, said to be the first of its kind in the country, runs with a part-time bibliotherapist working in Batley, the Colne Valley, Dalton and Rawthorpe and Almondbury.
They work closely with health professionals - identifying people who would benefit from reading group sessions or one-to-ones with the bibliotherapists.
Since the scheme started, around 2,000 reading group sessions, 350 one-to-one sessions and 150 new participants per year from all age groups and ethnic backgrounds have been involved.
* Monthly reading groups in Huddersfield and Dewsbury are giving new freedom to people with a range of disabilities.
Huddersfield and Dewsbury librar- ies run the four-weekly reading groups that use books in alternative formats, such as large print or on audio tape.
Transport is provided for people who cannot travel there under their own steam.
Library assistant Lesley Philips, whose group includes visually impaired people and sufferers of multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy and Parkinson's disease, said the group fulfilled a vital social role.
She said: "It's somewhere to go and meet other people."
Details of the group can be obtained from social inclusion library manager Alison Peaden on 01484 226350.