In Library Services we are lucky enough to receive regular feedback and requests from University of Essex students and staff and where possible, we try and turn these into reality. 

A lot of feedback received over the last few years has been for more leisure and wellbeing collections in the library, rather than just academic texts and course reading materials.

Well, behind the scenes we have been busily researching, demoing and negotiating with ebook and audiobook platforms and are very happy to announce that we now have a subscription to an ebook and audiobook platform (OverDrive) which staff and students at the University of Essex at all three campuses can access for free to consume wellbeing and leisure resources.

Just in time to celebrate University Mental Health Awareness Day on 9 March, the Library team, in collaboration with Occupational Health and the Students’ Union, have put together a collection of wellbeing ebooks and audiobooks for the new platform.

So, let’s dive into our new wellbeing collection and explore how to access it:


How do I access the wellbeing collection?

The wellbeing collection is hosted on the ebook and audiobook platform, OverDrive – which can be accessed through the library catalogue – and allows users to borrow ebooks and read or listen to them through your browser. 

You can also access the wellbeing collection through the Libby app that you can download to your own device. (If you are signed up with your local public library, you may already use this app to access their collections and you can search for and add the University of Essex collection to this.)

When you find a book you would like, just click borrow and you will have access to it for 7 days. If you finish the book early, click Return to make it available to others to borrow.


How did we decide on titles for the wellbeing collection?

The Library Services team have been working with the University of Essex Occupational Health team and Students’ Union who put forward themes and book suggestions for the collection to tie in with its launch ahead of University Mental Health Awareness Day on 9 March.

The titles cover topics such as stress and resilience, mental health, menopause, cooking on a budget, sleep and more.

We will continue to purchase more titles for the wellbeing collection and other leisure collections as they are suggested.

A screenshot of the Overdrive wellbing collection of ebooks and auidobooks. The screenshot shows a selection of four books from the collection: "The Comfort Book" by Matt Haig, "The Brain Fog Fix" by Dr. Mike Dow, "Menopausing" by Davina McCall and "Maybe You Should Talk to Someone" by Lori Gottlieb. 


Other leisure resources from the Library Services

The Library Services curates hundreds of subscriptions for the benefit of its users, and this includes some which prioritise leisure titles and resources. A few of these are:

  • PressReader – a catalogue which contains a wide range of popular newspapers and magazines
  • Box of Broadcasts (BoB) – a film and TV subscription service
  • Kanopy – another film and TV subscription service

The Albert Sloman Library at our Colchester campus has a variety of environments to study or read in and floors are zoned: Silent, Quiet or Group Study, so you can choose study or reading environments to suit you.

The Forum at our Southend campus has several study areas which are suitable for individual or group study, or for leisure reading.

The Library and IT Centre at our Loughton campus provides study booths and a relaxation zone for you to study or curl up with a good book.

A young south Asian woman with long dark hair tied back in a ponytail wearing glasses and a pink jumper sits at a study station in the Albert Sloman Library at the University of Essex Colchester campus. Her head is slightly bowed, and we can see that she is likely writing on a piece of paper due to the placement of her arms and the hint of a pen behind her workstation. She is wearing earphones and her coat is draped over the back of her chair. To her left we can see part of the library’s shelving racks filled with books. Above her head is placed the text: “Wellbeing ebook and audiobook collection” in a purple box. 


How can you get involved?

We would like to expand the ebooks and audiobooks available to University of Essex staff and students on the wellbeing collection, so if you have any suggestions, please complete our Book Suggestion form. If they are available to purchase, we will add as many as we can to the collection.

We have plans to expand our fiction and leisure collections, so watch this space!