The library is foreveryone

A collage of pictures showing people doing different things at the library.

The public library is one of the last free, open spaces for people and communities. It’s a place where you can access the greatest minds in history... or do nothing at all. And you don’t need to be silent while you do it.

It’s a place to enjoy books and more, meet your community and learn new skills. Today your local public library offers free space to work and study, books in multiple formats and events for all ages.

However you choose to use it, the library is open to everyone.

Your public library is a free, open space where you can:
  • Borrow books
  • Learn new skills
  • Keep warm
  • Access wifi
  • Research your history
  • Find space to work
  • Just be
  • Study
  • Use a computer
  • A mother playing with her baby at the library
    “Bring your little ones to rhyme time. I say to the new parents: your baby can cry. You can cry. You need a hug? I’ll give you a hug.”
    TracyChildren & Youth Librarian, Wiltshire Libraries
  • A library user sitting at a desk using his laptop.
    “My devices cost a fortune but I wasn’t using them effectively. Now I take them to tablet taster sessions every fortnight and get all my questions answered.”
    MajzoubCustomer, Southend-on-sea Libraries
  • A library volunteer laughing in front of painting easels
    “You can just go in, and there's no charge. There's so much on offer, and the staff are so kind, patient and welcoming.”
    DianeCustomer and volunteer, Wakefield Libraries

Frequently asked questions about libraries

If you haven’t been to a public library before, or haven’t visited one in a while, you might not be familiar with what they offer.  Here are some answers to questions people often have about the library.

Q:Is it free to join a public library? How do I join?

Yes, it’s free to join.

Your local library might need to see identification (like a driving licence) and proof of address (like a recent utility bill) to give you a library card. Not all libraries ask for this - it’s best to check with your library.

Q:How do I find my nearest library?

Go to and enter your post code to find libraries in your area.

Q:Do I need to be silent at the library? Can I take my child?

Most local public libraries don’t expect you to be quiet, and hold activities especially for children. They also have quieter times - check with your local library for the best time to visit.

Larger libraries may have stricter rules on noise and quiet areas for people to study in peace.

Q:What is free to do at the library?

It’s free to enter a public library, and many things you can do there are free. That includes borrowing books, using computers, accessing wifi and, usually, taking part in activities and events.

Q:Will I be fined for returning a library book late?

Fines help ensure as many people as possible can access the books they want. However, many libraries have stopped issuing fines for returning books late. To find out if your library issues fines, contact your local library.

Q:Where can I find out what’s on at my library?

Many libraries have listings on their websites. Library websites are sometimes part of their local authority’s website. You can also try searching Eventbrite with the name of your local library to see what’s on offer.

Q:Where can I find my library’s opening hours?

You can usually find your library’s opening hours on its website or the website of your local authority.

You can also find library opening hours at

Q:Can I download e-books and audiobooks through the library?

Yes. Most library services offer free digital downloads through partnerships with services like Borrowbox, Overdrive and Libby.

Find your nearest library and contact them to learn more and get help downloading free digital content.