No one is too young for a library membership!
It’s free to join, and there’s an amazing range of books and activities on offer.
This page has information to help children, teens and their families and carers make the most of their local library service.
Don’t forget to check our events page to see what’s happening near you.
If you are under 16 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, not just the children’s section.
Whatever your age, or taste in books and films, you’re bound to find something to borrow from the library. We stock everything from board books and picture books, to stories for younger readers, manga and young adult novels.
Our information section is great for researching school topics or hobbies and contains lots of books to help young people deal with difficult or emotional situations.
We aim to provide books for every reader, interest and situation. Ask our staff about big books, graphic novels, tactile books, large print, audio books and ClearVision braille books.
If you can’t find what you want, let us know and we may be able to borrow it from another library (there is no charge for children’s items), or buy it for the library service. You can do this by filling in a form on the LibrariesWest website or in your library.
We also have a wide range of DVDs to hire. We can only lend children films with an appropriate British Board of Film Classification rating.
Children are welcome to use the library computers. The library service uses a filtering system to block inappropriate sites. But, some other sites may have content that may be unsuitable, so we do advise customers to browse with caution.
Children under 10 years can use public computers to access Microsoft Office applications and a range of selected websites. They must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian when using the computers in the library.
10 to 15 year olds can 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 accessed by unaccompanied children aged 10 to 15 while using the internet.
See our Computers and Wifi page for more general information on how to access these resources.
We monitor misuse and will act where misuse is identified. Please read our acceptable use policy document and discuss it with your child.
You might also want to see these helpful websites for more information about safety online:
Library service for under 5s
Books provide hours of entertainment and fun, they feed the imagination and introduce children to size, colour and numbers. Books help children learn about themselves and the world. Evidence shows that introducing children to books at an early age is great for their development.
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 and stories for them to enjoy.
Most libraries have free story and rhyme times for young children. 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.
Preschool groups can borrow up to 50 children’s books and talking books for 6 weeks and childminders can apply for a membership card to allow them to borrow up to 40 books for 6 weeks.
Library staff welcome group visits to libraries to listen to stories and talk about what’s in the library, or we can come out and visit your group.
Recommended reads and book awards
If you’re stuck for something to read, staff can help you find a book that’s right for you.
Reading websites also contain information about authors, new books and fun activities. Many authors have their own websites with lots of fascinating information, and the latest news about their books. Please see the ‘Other information’ section on the left to visit external websites.
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.
The NASEN (National Association for Special Educational Needs) book award
For information visit www.nasen.org.uk/awards.
Young Minds Book Award
This annual award seeks to raise awareness and create understanding of the mental health needs of children and young people. For information visit www.youngminds.org.uk.
Bookstart is a national scheme run by the reading charity BookTrust. They encourage 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. Working locally with Libraries, Health Visitors and Early Years staff, Bookstart gives free books to children in their first year. 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. They are also available from libraries on request.
As well as Bookstart Baby, we also offer the following packs for children with additional needs upon request:
- Bookstart Shine for children who are deaf
- Bookstart Touch for children with a visual impairment
- Bookstart Star for children with conditions affecting their fine motor skills
- Dual language books and leaflets
Find more information and lots of great reading resources on the BookTrust website here.
Rhyme Time and Baby Boogie
Make new friends whilst helping your child to develop their reading, language and social skills.
Baby Boogie is aimed at babies up to 12 months old.
Rhyme Time is aimed at toddlers and preschoolers.
Both are relaxed sessions led by library staff with singing, stories and the chance to meet other families in your area. All are welcome – mums, dads, grandparents, carers and childminders. There’s no need to book and sessions are free – just join in! We run regular term-time sessions at many of our libraries. Check our events page to see when they are running near you.
The Glass Box at Taunton library hosts #SwitchSaturday sessions twice a month for children to play games like Mario Party or Mario Kart on our Nintendo Switch. There’s no need to book, just come along and join in.
Our staff are on hand to help explain the games and controllers, and make sure everyone takes turns. We ask that you remain on site while they play, but it’s a great opportunity to grab a drink and a snack from the Library Café or pick up some new books while they play.
Summer Reading Challenge
The Summer Reading Challenge is a national scheme that takes place every year during the summer holidays. Children sign up at their local library and read 6 library books of their choice to complete the challenge. There are rewards to collect along the way for each book completed. Library staff and a team of volunteers are on hand to help children sign up, collect rewards and choose new books if they need advice or inspiration. Visit your library in the school holidays to take part.
The Summer Reading Challenge website is a great resource to keep track of your reading all year round. It helps you find new books to read and has competitions, games and mini challenges.
Wellbeing - Reading Well Shelf Help
We have a special collection of books as part of the Reading well Scheme. It is full of health, wellbeing and mental health titles for young people and their families.
Find out more on our Accessible Services and Health and Wellbeing page.
Learn about the Library Sessions
Schools, preschools and leaders of groups like Brownies or Scouts can arrange to bring a class or group to the library where we can run a fun session to explain to children how the library works and what’s on offer. This can be a general overview or tailored to cover an area, for example using IT or exploring a school topic. Some notice is usually necessary, and not all libraries can accommodate large groups. Or, staff can come to talk to you in your own setting.