Reopening our libraries
We're pleased that as part of government plans we're looking at reopening our libraries.
Each of our library buildings has a very different layout, so to make sure we're opening in the safest possible way for both the public and our staff we'll be opening each site in a phased way.
It's free to borrow a book from any of our libraries; most can be borrowed for three weeks. Adults can borrow up to 20 books at a time and children can borrow up to 10.
You can check if a book is available to borrow by searching our library catalogue. It shows you if we have the book in our collection and the branch where it's available. If it's already on loan it'll tell you the date it's due back in the library. You can reserve a book that's already out on loan to collect when it's returned by the current borrower.
If we don't have the book you want we may be able to get it from another library for you, such as the British Lending Library. There's a charge to request a book and this varies depending where the book comes from. You can request a book by contacting us online or in person at one of our branches.
We host regular readers' groups in libraries across the borough to discuss books, authors and genres.
They're independent groups open to any member of the public who already is, or would like to become, a member of the library. The groups are friendly and informal with new members always welcome.
Reading for health and well being
Reading self-help books can help people with mental health conditions. The Reading Agency has worked with health professionals to create the Reading Well Books on Prescription scheme, a list of self-help and guidance books on conditions including anxiety, depression, phobias and eating disorders.
They've also selected some mood-boosting books as part of the scheme, including uplifting works of fiction, novels and poetry that's been selected by readers.
There's a scheme for people with dementia, carers and health professionals, as well as for those with long term conditions. This book list covers specific conditions including diabetes, stroke and asthma, as well as common symptoms including pain and fatigue.
Self help for young people
A Reading Well scheme is also available for 13 to 18 year olds. The collection of books provides high-quality information, support and advice on a wide range of mental health issues and pressures such as anxiety, depression, eating disorders, self esteem, bullying and exams.