Somerset County Council

Changes to your Library Service


Seven library services, one shared system…LibrariesWest is growing
On 7 June 2016, LibrariesWest was enlarged when Dorset County and Borough of Poole library services joined existing members Bath and North East Somerset, Bristol, North Somerset, South Gloucestershire and Somerset. Customers are now able to use public libraries, ‘coast to coast’ from the Bristol Channel in the north to the Jurassic Coast in the south.

LibrariesWest has introduced a new, shared library management computer system to support the running of library services. For example, by managing loans and stock, and providing the catalogue. Working together will also provide value for money. More information is available on the LibrariesWest website   

Changes to membership entitlements.  
At the same time as the new library management computer system was introduced, Somerset Library Service made some changes, to: 

  • Encourage more people to enjoy a vibrant and dynamic reading experience 
  • Enable people, in particular the most vulnerable, to make informed choices for their health and wellbeing
  • Improve information held about customers
  • Improve the use of existing books and library stock

Improved access for people with visual impairments, as well as other conditions that affect your ability to read. These customers will be able to request and borrow large print, talking books, and music CDs without a charge. 

Improvements to children’s membership, including free requests for talking books, and an extension of reduced charges to age 17. 

Children will take responsibility for their own library cards at 15, but will enjoy the benefits of children’s concessions until they turn 18.

Introduction of a membership category to support Carers whose caring duties restrict the time they have to visit a library. 

Introduction of a membership category to support Home Educators, Foster Carers, and ChildminderThese customers will be able to borrow more books for a longer period. 

The provision for Reading Groups to be able to borrow play sets available in the Performing Arts Library up to twice a year, without paying the Performing Arts Library subscription charge. The normal reading group request fee will apply.

Improvement of the service to the Home Library Service delivered by RVS volunteers. 

Removal of overdue charges on all books in the Somerset Autism Collection, the Somerset Dementia Collection, and the Books on Prescription collections.

Removal of request fees on Adult Literacy and Learning English (ESOL) Collection books, to make the specialist collections held in 15 libraries available across Somerset.

Change to daily overdue charges on DVDs, instead of the repeat hire charge. This will significantly reduce costs for customers whose DVDs are returned just a day or two late.

To improve availability of large print titles, the standard request charge will apply to all customers apart from those with a visual impairment. 

To better understand and meet the needs of our customers, we are limiting some concessions to particular memberships:

  • Children’s items borrowed by children (on a child’s card) will still receive reduced rate overdue charges
  • Children’s items requested by children (using a child’s card) will still be free
  • Children’s items borrowed on, or requested using an adult membership card will incur adult charges
  • Standard request and hire charges will apply to all DVDs


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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