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Books for hospices

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'A great resource for patients…the service is another way of offering comfort and relaxation to patients and ensures that staff and carers feel they are doing that little bit extra for the people they care for. I would recommend the service to other hospices…’
Candy Welch, St Helena Hospice, Essex

In May 2010, Listening Books launched its books for hospices project, supplying mini libraries of audiobooks to voluntary-run hospices. We are delighted to have been able to offer these mini libraries to hospices free of charge through the generous donations of charitable trusts and companies. We have so far delivered to over 160 adult hospices in England and to the majority of children's hospices throughout the UK, ensuring our audiobooks bring comfort to as many adults and children as possible.

The mini libraries consist of a huge range of fantastic audiobooks on MP3 CD by some of the biggest names in the publishing world, including

Margaret Atwood, Bill Bryson, Dan Brown and Jacqueline Wilson. Each hospice has so far also received MP3 CD players and headphones to distribute to its patients.

Director, Bill Dee, says:

'We have long been aware that many of our members under hospice care find our audiobooks an invaluable distraction from pain and anxiety. This development of our service allows us to reach people under hospice care in a more structured and effective way. The feedback to date has been overwhelmingly positive and we are delighted with the progress of the project thus far.'

Clare Collins, who works at St Giles Hospice in Lichfield which offers specialist care for patients with cancer and other serious illnesses, tells us how the service is being used to benefit their patients:

'The mini library is currently used in the Day Hospice. Listening Books are used on a weekly basis by the patients. On a monthly basis, we operate a book of the month service whereby patients can gather together in one place to listen to the book.

The library has given some of our patients access to books when they are unable to physically get to a library or shop. For others who are not able to hold a book, and therefore have been unable to read for a long time, Listening Books have opened up a wider accessibility for them. Because the hospice covers a wide area, we have a wide range of people who access our services, and therefore have access to the book library.

Being able to access the library has really been so useful to our patients. They have thoroughly enjoyed the independence of having this facility.'

It really is fantastic to see such positive responses from participating hospices.  We are also grateful to have the support of David Praill, Chief Executive of charity, Help the Hospices, who had this to say about the project:

'The Books for Hospices project from Listening Books has already made a tremendous difference to hundreds of hospice patients and their families, with mini libraries being installed at more than 30 local hospices across the UK. These audiobook libraries have supported hospices in their mission to help people live well until they die, by giving people with life-limiting and terminal illnesses the chance to reap the therapeutic benefits of books, and continue to do the things they love - like relaxing with a novel or learning about something new.’

Listening Books’ patron, Stephen Fry, was equally positive about the initiative:

'It’s wonderful to hear that Listening Books is now extending its vital audiobook service to include adults and children in hospice care who cannot read books.  The comfort and escapism audiobooks can bring will provide welcome relief to those struggling with life-limiting illnesses who are no longer able to participate in the usual activities one uses to escape pain and anxiety.'

If you know of a voluntary-run hospice in the UK which might like to receive a mini library, please direct them to this page or ask them to contact Louise Barling at or by calling 020 7407 9417.


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Listening Books members can download thousands of fantastic titles to an iPod or other portable player!

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MP3 CDs!

Members can choose from a huge selection of MP3 CDs which we send through the post.



Members can listen to thousands of audiobooks instantly on a huge range of devices and computers, including Macs.

General enquiries:020 7407 9417 /
Library enquiries: 020 7234 0522 /
Fax: 020 7403 1377
Registered charity number: 264221 Patron: Stephen Fry
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