Death Positive Libraries

Death positive libraries aim to remove the barriers to talking about death and dying.

Almost 80% of British adults find it difficult to talk about death, even though we all have to face it. Not talking about death, not getting the right support and advice at the right time and the suffering that people go through when a loved one dies or when they are facing death themselves, puts enormous strain on mental health and wellbeing. The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the urgent need for supportive services for bereaved individuals, at a time of vulnerability and low resilience.

Working with Libraries Connected and following on from pilot schemes in Redbridge, Kirklees and Newcastle Library services we are launching five Death Positive Hubs in early April 2022.

Libraries are uniquely placed to be a centre for bereavement support as well as a trusted space where conversations about death and dying can take place with caring staff on hand to help.

The Hubs, which are located across the county, to ensure as many people as possible can benefit from this project, will offer

  • A specially chosen collection of books for adults offering practical information and guidance
  • A collection of books for children, which use relatable stories to help initiate conversations about death
  • Trained staff who are comfortable talking about death and able to provide practical guidance for those seeking further professional support
  • Resources containing QR codes, directing customers to our webpages and signposting to relevant support services

Our five hubs, which are based in Basingstoke Discovery Centre, Chandler’s Ford Library, New Milton Library, Stubbington Library and Waterlooville Library; will also be working in partnership with specialist charities, organisations and businesses who support those who are dying or bereaved. These partnerships will enable us to offer practical and supportive events and activities in the Death Positive hubs later this year.

Existing services within libraries will also be helpful for people seeking support within Death Positive Hubs: social groups such as ‘Knit and Knatter’ or Scrabble club, access to digital information through our public network computers and WIFI and drop-in advice clinics such as the Citizen’s Advice Bureau. Over time new groups and services will be offered, such as Death Cafes and special story times hosted by children’s bereavement specialists. We will be working with our Learning in Libraries team to offer a bespoke programme of learning too, covering a range of topics including, grief management, tackling end of life conversations, confidence building and wellbeing.

Our Death Positive books will be available in the five hubs and through Borrowbox. For physical copies, browse our online catalogue and, for a small charge, reserve the book or books you would like to pick up at your local library.

We will invite feedback from customers regarding the Death Positive booklist, exploring how useful particular titles are and suggestions for improving the collection.

And When Did You Last See Your Father by Blake Morrison

About the book

First published in 1993, Blake Morrison’s And When Did You Last See Your Father? is an extraordinary portrait of family life, father-son relationships and bereavement. It became a best-seller and inspired a whole genre of confessional memoirs.

Reviewed by Titchfield Book Club:

A good read. A difficult subject dealt with in a compassionate and often humorous way.

Star rating: ***

Read the book

Request to borrow a reading group set