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All libraries in Somerset provide books and a range of audio-visual material for children and adults to borrow.

There are expert library staff on hand to offer help and more information about all aspects of using the library service.

Books

All our libraries provide a range of fiction and non-fiction books, both in hardback and paperback. All libraries also provide a variety of large print titles.

Some libraries have small collections of books in languages such as German, French, Spanish, and Italian. Also, our ‘foreign rentals’ service allows us to acquire loan collections of five or more books in most languages for you to borrow from a library. Please place a request at your local library.

It would be helpful if you could indicate, on the request form, your preference for:

  • level – adult, children
  • translations into other languages or in the original language

Before librarians place orders for new books, they take into account a wide variety of factors, such as:

  • known stock gaps
  • knowledge of local community need
  • requests from members of the public
  • information from publishers and suppliers about forthcoming publications

We also use management information on what books are popular – such as that they are frequently borrowed – to help us take decisions about what books we buy. Book stock is selected and managed according to a Stock Provision Policy and a Stock Standards Policy, both of which are regularly reviewed.

We welcome feedback from members of the public. You can suggest a book to be bought in several different ways.

You can:

We will buy those titles that we think will improve the book stock of Somerset’s Libraries. Although we will consider every suggestion, we cannot guarantee to buy everything for reasons such as:

  • a title may be out of print
  • we may already have sufficient copies
  • it may be unsuitable for the library in question

We always reply to completed comments forms, so you will be able to find out what we decided to do.

We are always willing to accept donations of books and other materials – such as DVDs or talking books –  in good condition. As not all items may be suitable for stock, a donated item will be accepted on the basis that it may be used as other library materials, such as being exchanged between libraries. Please feel free to hand in any books or other items you would like to donate at your local library.

DVDs

Films, World Cinema, TV series and costume dramas, general interest and DVDs for children are all available for you to borrow from your library, either directly from the shelves or by request from another library.

DVDs are held in most libraries. You can check if your library stocks DVDs by going to Our Libraries directory. They are available to borrow, by request, from all libraries.

You can borrow DVDs for 14 days. They must be returned by the 14th day or an overdue charge is made – please see our Library fees and charges page. You can also borrow DVD boxed sets for 21 days.

You can renew a DVD, providing it has not been requested. A further loan fee will be charged for renewals.

You can request a DVD that is in stock. There is a request fee. If the DVD is not stocked you can write your suggestion on a comments form and it will be considered for purchase.

Premium DVD
Some of the new release DVD titles added to stock will be called Premium titles. These will be issued at the Premium price. The loan period for the Premium titles will be 7 days, and we ask customers to return these Premium titles to the library they borrowed them from.

Audiobooks

You can borrow talking books from any library. These are available in both cassette and CD format. You can select them directly from the shelves (if your library has a collection) or request titles from the LibrariesWest website. We can also borrow talking books, on your behalf, from another library authority.

There are charges made to borrow or request items, unless you are eligible for the free service. For more information on this please see our Audiobooks page. A charge is also made for lost or damaged items.

Books and reading

This section will help you to find suggestions for something new to read and let you know what events and promotions are in libraries.

Library staff are always happy to help you find something different to read, so don’t be afraid to ask.

You can email us – enquiry@somerset.gov.uk

Last reviewed: February 5, 2024 by Qi

Next review due: August 5, 2024

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