The library is a great place for children whatever their age. No one is too young to join the library, it’s free to join and borrow books. Have a look round and see what's in it for you. This page will help children and young people, their parents and carers make the most of the library service.
Anyone can come to the library. But if you want to borrow anything you will need to join. Library staff are always happy to help, so don't be afraid to ask.
If you are under 15 you can join by visiting the library with a parent or guardian. You will need to fill in an application form and your parent or guardian will be asked to show either a current membership card or proof of name and address. Once you have joined you can borrow books and other items from the whole library.
Whatever your taste in books, music and film, you're bound to find something worth borrowing in the library. There are books, talking books and DVDs of interest to children of all ages. If you can't find what you want, let us know and we may be able to borrow it from another library or buy it for the library service. You can do this by filling in a comments form, which is available in your library or from the LibrariesWest website.
For books and talking books, we categorise by interest or age to help you choose. We can only lend DVDs within the British Board of Film Classification guidelines.
You can arrange to bring a class or group to the library where we can run a session to explain to children how the library works and what's in it for them. This can be organised to suit your needs, for example using IT or exploring a topic. Some notice is usually necessary, and not all libraries can accommodate large groups.
Or, a librarian can come to talk to you in your own setting. Libraries operate a child safety policy. We may ask you for contact details when your child attends a session in the library.
Children are welcome to use the computers. The library service uses a filtering system on the public access computers. We monitor misuse and will take action where misuse is identified. Please see our flyer, 'Computers and the internet: policy on acceptable use for parents and children', for our top tips for keeping your child safe using the internet.
Library service for under 5s
Books provide hours of entertainment and fun, they feed the imagination and help explain ideas like size, colour and numbers. Books help children learn about themselves and the world.
Libraries have lots of strong board books including simple stories to share and books with brightly coloured pictures of things to talk about and recognise. These are ideal for babies and toddlers learning how to handle books. There are also many picture books and recorded rhymes, music and stories for them to enjoy.
All libraries have collections of books for special situations. Look in the 'books to share' section available in every library. Ask about big books, graphic novels, tactile books, large print, talking books and ClearVision books.
Some libraries have story and rhyme times. Anyone under five is welcome at a story and rhyme session. There's usually no need to book for these. Just come along and you will be made welcome. See our events page for more information.
If there is something special or particular you would like to borrow, you can request children's books free of charge.
Pre school groups can borrow 50 items of children’s books and talking books for 6 weeks and childminders may apply for a membership card to allow them to borrow up to 40 items for 6 weeks. You will need to register and will be given a membership card. Librarians welcome group visits to libraries to listen to stories and talk about what's in the library. We will also visit groups.
If you're stuck for something to read, staff can help you find a book that's right for you. Ask about printed lists of recommended reads or try some reading websites such as:
Sleepopolis.com - Bedtime stories for kids/
Reading websites contain information about authors, new books and fun activities. Many authors have their own websites. You can find these by typing the author's name in the search box on Google.
Children's Book Awards
Booktrust Early Years Awards Winner is announced in September. Teenage Prize winner is announced in November. For information visit www.booktrust.org.uk/prizes/
CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Children's Book Awards Shortlists for the two awards are announced in April and the winners are announced in July.
During this period, many children's reading groups in schools and libraries take part in a 'shadowing' scheme, reviewing the nominated books and talking about who they think should win. For more information visit www.carnegiegreenaway.org.uk
Costa Book Award. For more information visit www.costabookawards.com
The Guardian Children's Fiction Prize.
For information visit www.guardian.co.uk/books/guardianchildrensfictionprize
Red House Children's Book Awards.
For information visit www.redhousechildrensbookaward.co.uk
The NASEN (National Association for Special Educational Needs) book award. For more information visit www.nasen.org.uk/awards
Young Minds Book Award. This annual award seeks to raise awareness and create understanding of mental health needs of children and young people. For more information visit www.youngminds.org.uk
Bookstart is a national programme that encourages all parents and carers to enjoy books with children from as early an age as possible. Bookstart aims to give free packs of books to every child in the UK, to inspire and create a love of reading that will give children a flying start in life. And most of all show that books are fun!
Working locally with Libraries, Health Visitors and Early Years staff, Bookstart gives free books to children in their first year and at three to four years. Packs also include leaflets for adults.
Bookstart Baby packs are usually delivered to families by health professionals at health visits before the baby's first birthday.
Bookstart Treasure pack is gifted to 3- to 4-year-olds in the year before they start school at early year settings such as nurseries and playgroups. Children of this age not attending an early years setting can collect one from a library.
Parents and carers can also get 'baby packs' from their local library - just pop in or phone to ask.
Bookstart and different needs
- Booktouch packs are provided for blind and partially sighted babies and toddlers
- Bookshine packs are provided for hearing impaired and deaf children and toddlers
- Dual language books and leaflets are available with Treasure packs
There is more information at www.bookstart.org.uk
For more information about Bookstart locally, please email email@example.com
Bookstart Bear Club
Join the Bookstart Bear Club in your local library and make visits to the library even more rewarding by getting stamps and collecting beautiful certificates. Or join the online Bookstart Bear Club at www.bookstart.org.uk/bookstart-bear-club.
There you can:
- Build a wishlist of books
- Personalised book recommendations
- Play Bookstart Bear Club games
- Earn reward certificates