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Wednesday, 3 October 2023

Local libraries

Your local library offers more than just books. You can rent CDs and DVDs, surf the internet, and attend a wide range of events for both adults and children. Many libraries provide access to their loan services online, so you can search catalogues and renew items from your home.

Joining your local library

Before you can start using your library’s services, you will need to join. To do this, you will usually need to prove that you live in the local area. For example, you may need to provide a recent utility bill or council tax statement.

What you can do at your local library

There is lots to do at your local library. The staff will be able to help you use the library and can give you ideas about books to read.

Search for, reserve or renew a library book

Many libraries allow you to search their catalogue online and ask for an item to be reserved for you to collect. You can also renew items you have borrowed online.

Larger libraries may also offer a wide range of reference material and places for private study.

Use the internet

Many libraries have computers where you can access the internet, often for free. To do this, you usually need to book a slot first. You may also be able to sign up for computer courses.

Attend free events for children and families

Most libraries offer free activities and events for children. These could be ‘rhymetime’ sessions for parents and babies, where you can join in with nursery rhymes and songs, or storytelling or reading challenges.

Every year, libraries all over the country are involved in the summer reading challenge. This is the UK’s biggest reading event for children in libraries.

Join a reading group

Some libraries run reading groups. These are informal groups that meet regularly to discuss particular books and to share the joy of reading.

You can use the ‘reading groups for everyone’ website to find a reading group near you.

Find out about staying healthy

Most large libraries (and many smaller ones) have a health and wellbeing section. This offers books, magazines and reliable online advice on how to stay fit and healthy. Library staff can also help you book hospital appointments online.

If you have an ‘information prescription’ for a long-term condition, you can use your library to find resources to help you understand your condition better.

Learn about local history

Many libraries also offer specialist services to help you find out about the history of your local area.

See ‘Research your local, family or house history’ to find out more.

Library fines

If you don’t return items to your library by the due date, you may have to pay a fine. The fine usually increases the longer you take to return the item.

Some local councils let you pay your library fines online. See ‘Pay your library fine’ to see if this applies to your local council.

Mobile libraries

If you find it difficult to get to your nearest library, many local councils also run a mobile library service.

Mobile libraries are usually large vehicles filled with books and other items. They travel regularly to areas that don’t have easy access to libraries.

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