Somerset County Council

Computers in libraries


All our libraries provide public access computers. This includes access to the internet, web-based email, recommended quality internet sites and Microsoft Office applications. We provide free public access computers, which library members can use for up to 120 minutes each day.     

The internet access we provide is a filtered service. Web filtering software is used to block a range of websites that are not appropriate for a public library environment.

The software applications available on our PCs include Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access and Publisher) and Libre Office (an open source alternative to Microsoft Office). 

We also have Supernova Access Suite available on all PCs. This is software that helps users with visual impairments - features include magnification, text reading and the ability to change the colours shown on screen.

We do not provide data storage and all our PCs are set to delete local user files and web history automatically when you log-out to protect your privacy and data security. This means you will need to save your work to your own portable data storage device (a CD-ROM or data stick) or to your cloud storage area. But, the library service cannot guarantee that all devices will be compatible with library computers. 

Most libraries have a flatbed scanner available.

Printing is available and charged at a standard rate per sheet. Charges are on display in all libraries and are available on our Library Charges and Fines page. 

Who can use our public computer services

Adult members
If you are a member of the library service and over 15 years of age, you can use our full range of computer services. Members of the 7 library services in the LibrariesWest partnership - Somerset, Bath and North East Somerset, Bristol, Dorset, North Somerset, Poole and South Gloucestershire - can use the Somerset public access computers. 

Visitors to Somerset Libraries can book public access PCs for up to 2 hours each day, subject to availability and opening hours. Temporary visitor accounts are issued by library staff.

Children and young people
All children and young people can use public computers in the library for word-processing and other Microsoft Office applications, and to access a range of selected web sites. 

Children under 10 years must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian when using computers in the library.

All 10 to 15 year olds may only use the full internet service if a parent or legal guardian has signed an Internet Consent form in the presence of library staff. Library staff cannot be held responsible for the information that children aged 10 to 15 access using the internet.  

Using a computer
You need to know your personal library card number and your PIN (Personal Identification Number). We advise you to bring your library card with you each time you use the library and to keep your PIN securely.

Booking a computer
We use an automated computer booking system. This is configured to allow members up to a maximum 2 hours access to computers a day, depending on their availability. Time cannot be banked and carried over to other days (If there is availability on the day, session length may be extended at the discretion of library staff). 

Please note, all computers are set to shut down 10 minutes before the library is due to close.

You can book a computer to make sure that it is available when you need it up to 7 days in advance. You can book any available computer yourself at any of our 34 libraries. There are 3 ways to book a computer

  1. If you are in a library, ask library staff to reserve a session for you 
  2. Phone Libraries Direct (0300 123 2224) to make a reservation
  3. If you are logged onto a computer, use the ‘Book a Computer’ facility to self-book

If you are using the ‘Book a Computer’ facility, please note that the basic session length is set to 60 minutes. This means you can book up to 60 minutes, but to reserve a computer for more than 60 minutes you will need to make two bookings.

Once booked, a computer will not be available for other customers to use. The computer will remain booked for you up to 10 minutes beyond the session start time. After that, if you have not arrived for your session, the booking is automatically cancelled and will be available to other users. If you arrive early for your session you will be able to logon up to 5 minutes before the session is due to start. The new start time will be recognised by the system so that the length of the session remains the same.

You can cancel the booking yourself from any library computer.

Logging onto your booked computer

  • The clock in our computer management system, Netloan, determines when sessions start and finish.
  • The system or “Netloan time” may not be the same as your watch or the library clock.
  • A clock is displayed on each login screen, so that you can see what the time is in “Netloan time” before you log in.
  • When you have logged onto a computer, a countdown clock displays exactly how many minutes are left of your session.
  • It can take a few minutes for a computer to log in, depending on network traffic. During this time your login and PIN are being checked and the computer is being prepared for your use. The login time is part of your session time.

If you pre-book a session, a computer is reserved for your use. You are urged to login within 10 minutes of the start of your booked session. Any time delay counts against your session time and will be lost. If you are more than 10 minutes late, your session will expire and may be taken by another customer.

Walk up use
We advise you to book a computer to make sure it is available when you need it.  

But, if you are in a library and need to use a computer you may be able to use one immediately. You can walk up to any available computer and log on through Netloan using your membership number and PIN if no one else has pre-booked that computer. 

The login screen will show if the computer is available or not. If it is available it will display the 'available until...' time.

You will automatically be given a 60 minute session or the length of time until the next booking, whichever is the shorter.

Health and safety
You are responsible for your own health and safety. There are posters giving advice about using computers safely in our libraries, and on our Computer Health and safety help sheet. You can also find tips on internet safety and security on our Staying safe on-line sheet and more information on the website.

Everyone who uses the computer facilities in libraries is expected to have read the library service Policy on the Use of Public Access Computers and accepted its terms and conditions before use.


Contact: Libraries Direct
Phone: 0300 123 2224

Opening Hours: Monday 8am to 6pm, Tuesday to Friday 8.30am to 5.30pm, Saturday and Sunday closed.

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