Book first at new look library service

Somerset Libraries have rolled out a new order-and-collect service giving customers access to library books while staying safely socially distanced.

Libraries have been opening over the last few weeks in phases across the county and offering the new service, with the final four – Chard, Cheddar, Glastonbury and Martock libraries – now open.

With the exception of Taunton Library visitors are not able to browse the shelves just yet, the new look service does allow people to use an online request form to receive a selection of up to 10 books, DVDs or Talking Books which staff pick out for customers, based on the types of authors or genres that interest them.

Somerset residents have also been making use of the popular public computers available in libraries. Computers need to be pre-booked and are available for one-hour slots, with time built in for cleaning.

And the libraries online events and activities for families available every day have proved popular – including story-times, performances and activities as part of the 2020 Summer Reading Challenge – delivered this year by ‘The Silly Squad’. Visit for information or find ‘Somerset Libraries UK’ on Facebook.

Library staff have also been busy creating a range of videos for grown-ups too; such as nature walks, a gardening club, cookery tips and tips to help with health and wellbeing.

What’s more, anyone who is a member of Somerset Libraries can also download audiobooks, magazines, books, comics and access other online services such as Ancestry UK.

Councillor David Hall, Somerset County Council’s Cabinet Member with responsibility for Libraries, said: “It’s great to see people returning to the library service using the new order-and -collect service and coming in to make use of the public computers. Our communities have really got behind the new service and our growing online activities. I’d also like to thank our library staff for the innovative ways they are delivering library services which means so much to so many in these unusual of times.”

The mobile library is also back on the road and details of where and when the stops are can be found on the Somerset Libraries website pages.

Customers can return any items currently on loan to a library, but customers are encouraged not to make an unnecessary journey to do this.

All current loans that would have been due back during the lockdown period have been extended to the end of August, and any overdue charges that customers might have incurred as a result of library closures due to COVID-19 have been waived.

The order-and collect request form is available via the Somerset Libraries website – or by contacting Somerset Libraries are also contactable by telephone on 0300 123 2224.