Somerset County Council
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Libraries

 

Library membership entitles you to borrow library items, such as books, CDs and DVDs. Your membership will also allow you to request items, renew items and access the internet free of charge using the People's Network computers in your library.

If you have no proof of address, staff may be able to provide you with a limited, introductory membership. You will then be able to borrow one item at a time (this does not include DVDs and computer games). Please go to the LibrariesWest website for renewals and borrower information.

If you want to join, you can visit your local library or join using the LibrariesWest website.

Joining in a library
If you want to join, you will be asked to complete a membership joining form and show proof of your identity and address.

Examples include:

  • Driving licence

  • Family allowance book

  • Medical card

  • Pension book

  • Utility bill less than 3 months old

  • Bank statement

  • Building society book 

You will then be given a membership card and a PIN.

You will need your membership card every time you want to borrow items, to renew or request items using our website or to use the People's Network computers.

You can use your card at any library or mobile library in Somerset, Bath and North East Somerset, Bristol. Dorset, North Somerset, Poole and South Gloucestershire.

If you are under 15, a parent or guardian will have to come to the library with you, to sign for your membership card.

If you join on LibrariesWest
You will be given a temporary membership number and PIN. You can immediately reserve items on our catalogue. To borrow items you will need to collect your membership card from the library.

Children's membership
To arrange for your child (under 15) to join the library to borrow items or to use the computers, please either visit the library or join the website. In both instances you will be asked to fill in a membership joining form. You will also be asked for proof of your identity and current address on behalf of your child. You will be asked to sign the membership card as 'guarantor' for your child's loans until they reach the age of 16. As well as the membership card, you will be given a PIN for your child's membership.

PIN
You will be issued with a PIN, your personal identification number, that has been automatically generated for your library card number. You need your PIN to renew books online or by phone, to request items online or if you want to use the People's Network computers in libraries. 

If you do not know your PIN just ask your local library, they will ask you a few questions to confirm your identity. They will then tell you your PIN. You can change your PIN at any time either at your library or on the LibrariesWest website.

Change of Address
If you change your address please visit your local library and tell them, they will amend your record. You will not need proof of your new address.

Lost Library Cards
If you lose your library card please tell your library immediately, so we can prevent unauthorised use of your card. If you don't do this you will be responsible for all loans on your cards. You will be charged a small fee for a replacement card – see Library charges and fines. When going to the library to obtain a replacement card, please remember to take identification, such as:

  • Driving licence

  • Family Allowance book

  • Pension book

  • Current utility bill

  • Bank / Building Society book 

How do I use it?
You will need your card whenever you wish to borrow any item or use a People's Network computer. You can borrow up to 20 items at any one time from any library.

Your card and PIN will also enable you to:

  • Borrow from any library within the 7 partner library services of LibrariesWest. These are Somerset, Bath and North East Somerset, Bristol, Dorset, North Somerset, Poole and South Gloucestershire.

  • Renew items online on the LibrariesWest website.

  • Check your loans and the progress of your requests, also by using the LibrariesWest website

  • Access the Internet 

  • Access a range of free e-resources

The loan period depends on the type of item you borrow:

  • Books - 21 days

  • Talking books - 21 days

  • Music CDs - 14 days

  • DVDs - 7 days (boxed sets - 14 days) 

If you borrow an item from a non-Somerset library (for example, from a library in Bath and North East Somerset, Bristol, Dorset, North Somerset, Poole or South Gloucestershire), the local loan period for the lending library will apply. If in doubt, check with the library staff at the time of your visit. If you anticipate (at the time you borrow any items) being away when your loans are due back, it may be possible to arrange for a longer loan period. 

You can renew most items up to 20 times if no one else has requested them. Books borrowed from mobile libraries are issued for 6 weeks, but other materials (DVDs, music CDs and talking books) are issued for 3 weeks, that is, one visit and for the standard loan charge. For example, the standard charge for a one-week loan of a DVD in a library will also apply to a 3-week loan of a DVD from a mobile library.

What happens next?
If, at the time you borrow any item, you think you will be away when your loans are due back, it may be possible to arrange for a longer loan period - please ask staff. If the loan you wish to extend is normally charged for, there will be an additional charge. 

You can return your books and other items to any library in the LibrariesWest Consortium, that is, Somerset, Bath and North East Somerset, Bristol, Dorset, North Somerset, Poole or South Gloucestershire.

Returning books and other items when the library is closed is not recommended. It is best to return loaned items during opening hours because that allows staff to confirm that items have been recorded as returned and the borrower record cleared. Items returned through library letter boxes can get damaged.

Faulty/damaged items
If the item you have borrowed is damaged and this wasn't noticed at the time you borrowed it, please make a note of the damage, for example, the number of a faulty track on a CD, as soon as you notice it. When returning the item to the library, please hand over the note recording the damage. In the case of items for which there is a loan charge (CDs, computer games, talking books and DVDs) staff will assess the damage and, in appropriate cases, will offer a free loan of another item.

Single Membership
A member registered at any public library in Somerset, Bath and North East Somerset, Bristol, Dorset, North Somerset, Poole and South Gloucestershire can use their membership card at any other public library in these authorities. The main reason for introducing single membership is to provide a more flexible and seamless service to all our existing customers, and to make membership more attractive to potential customers.

How many items will I be able to have out on loan at any one time?
You will be able to borrow up to a maximum of 20 items at any one time.

How do I access the People's Network in another library service in the Librarieswest consortium?
You can use your membership card to book and log on in the usual way. You will be asked to read and accept the Acceptable Use Policy each time you log on to a computer. The terms and conditions of the authority you are in at the time will apply.

Can I book a People's Network computer in another consortium authority?
Yes but only if you are using a library in that authority at the time, for example, if you are visiting a North Somerset library, you can book a computer in any North Somerset library. However, if you are in a Somerset library and want to book a computer in a North Somerset library this will not be possible at the moment. 

What happens if I am already a member of one LibrariesWest service and try to join another?
Your current library membership card can be used in any LibrariesWest library. You can update your membership record (for example, to notify the service of a change of address) in any LibrariesWest library, regardless of where you originally joined.

What happens if I already have a card for more than one library service, or wish to be a member of more than one?
Generally, you will only need one membership card. However, if you are already a member of more than one LibrariesWest library service you will be able to continue to use both membership cards.

Which authority's fees and charges will apply, and when?
Hire charges will be applied according to the library/authority the items are loaned at, for example, a DVD borrowed in Bristol by a library member who registered in Somerset will be charged at the Bristol rate.

Overdue charges will be applied according to the library/authority the item was issued at, for example, an item borrowed from South Gloucestershire and returned late to a library in Bath and North East Somerset will be charged at the South Gloucestershire rate.

Reservation charges will relate to the library chosen as the pickup location. If the pickup is subsequently changed by the customer there will be no charge.

If a member of staff places the reservation on your behalf, you will be charged according to the library you are in at the time. 

Will I be able to specify any library as a pick up location for reservations?
Yes, you can collect your reservation from any public library in the LibrariesWest consortium.

How will any membership concessions be applied?
Concessions will apply to the authority customers have registered with, for example, if you are registered with South Gloucestershire and use a South Gloucestershire library you will be entitled to South Gloucestershire concessionary rates, but those rates won't apply if you use your card in another authority area.

Contacts

Contact: Libraries Direct
Email: generalenquiries@somerset.gov.uk
Phone: 0300 123 2224

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

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