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Cost of Living Support

Kent Libraries | Warm welcome spaces and money saving membership


We've put this page together to highlight ways in which you could save money with your library membership. Find out more about how you can use our spaces, what's on in a library near you, our free offers, services and partner work with community groups below.

We work hard to make sure all of our libraries are accessible and as inclusive as possible for all of our visitors. Some of our buildings have floors accessible by lift, and some have access to public toilets.

Before your visit please check our opening hours, accessibility, and facilities for any updates or closures

  • Further support services and other welcoming spaces to be found in Kent are also listed at the bottom of this page. Jump to this section
  • Not a member of the library yet? Join online
  • No permanent address? No problem. Have a chat with us at your local library

Spaces to sit and socialise at the library

Save money with your Kent Libraries membership


Our libraries offer a wide range of services with free access to books, computers, internet, information and more. Find out more in each section below. 


Take advantage of our free Wi-Fi, available in every library. Perfect for remote working, study, research, to catch up on admin or for relaxing away from home. Connect via your own laptop, tablet or smart phone with your library card number and PIN

All of our libraries also have computers with internet access which are free to use.

We also offer low cost printing facilities, and you can print from your own device or by logging into our computers

Find out more about library computers, wifi and the help available to use our computers.

Please remember to bring headphones if you want to watch, listen or to use a screen reading app on our computers or your own device. Our computers are unable to pair to Bluetooth devices. 

Using library WiFi

Save money and space on your bookshelves by visiting your local library

With the average price of paperback fiction being typically £8.99 and an average recommended retail price of £20 for new release hardback fiction, being a bookworm can be an expensive hobby if you haven't got a library card!

You can borrow any books from our shelves for FREE and, if you can't find what you're looking for, you can order in any title from the entire Kent catalogue for just £1. If you have a disability, mental health needs or are an informal carer, you can reserve items for free with our exempt card.

Search our online catalogue

Save money by borrowing books from the library

Thousands of children's books, order in and borrow for free!

Can’t find what you want on our shelves? It's free for all families to order books and other items via our online catalogue with a child or teen library card, and you can ask us to deliver these to any library or mobile library stop in Kent of your choice, saving on journey costs.

There are no charges for any books lost or damaged while borrowed on a pre-school child’s ticket, plus there are no late return charges for items borrowed on child or teen card (under 18s). Babies (from birth), children and teenagers can become library members. If a parent, carer or guardian confirms their details, they can borrow up to 30 items at a time on their card

Search our online catalogue

Free book reservations for under 18s

We've added new apps to our eLibrary offer, giving you access to even more of your favourite reads and top titles for free 

  • Libby Borrow bestsellers and read or listen anytime, anywhere. This app is loved by millions of readers worldwide. We hit over 3 million loans last year, with Kent Libraries members enjoying thousands of different eBook and eAudio titles for free, including bestselling fiction and non fiction, children's and teen books and eComics. You can also access over 3000 magazines with the Libby app, including National Geographic, The Economist, BBC Good Food, Gardeners World magazine, Vogue, Empire, Hello!, New Scientist, Radio Times, Reader's Digest and more! 

  • BorrowBox Download the free app and log in with your library card for access to brilliant eAudio content, including Audible exclusive titles. Listen to eAudiobooks by authors such as Margaret Atwood, James Patterson, Lee Child, Kate Atkinson, Ian McEwan, Bill Bryson, Matt Haig, David Baldacci, Julia Donaldson and many more!

  • ULibrary This app offers even more exclusive eAudio content, including authors such as Catherine Cookson, Dilly Court, Kate Ellis and Katie Flynn, M.C.Beaton, Anne Cleeves, Clive Cussler, Nora Roberts, Robert Galbraith and many more.

  • PressReader gives you unlimited access to thousands of magazines and newspapers from around the world so you can stay connected to the stories you love. Read daily UK newspapers and bestselling magazines for free.

  • Visit the Global Access Newsbank website to read today's edition of The Times.

Download now!

Free eBooks eAudiobooks and more with Libby BorrowBox ULibrary and PressReader

Did you know? You can also borrow all of these from your local library for free!
If you have an exempt library card you can also reserve and borrow audiobooks on CD for free.

  • Storysacks large cloth bags containing a children's picture book with themed supporting materials, usually soft character toys, a non fiction book and puzzles! They help make reading more memorable and support children with their own storytelling. 

    Search for "storysack" on our online catalogue to see which stories are available.
  •  

  • Reading Sparks kits Aimed at children between 8 to 11 years old, Reading Sparks are boxes containing a book, activity sheets and materials to conduct your own science experiments at home!

    Check to see if kits are available
    to borrow from your local library.

  • micro:bits The micro:bit is a pocket-sized computer that introduces you to how software and hardware work together. It has an LED light display, buttons, sensors and many input/output features that you can program and physically interact with.

    Get in contact with your local library to see if you can borrow a micro:bit with your Kent library card. Find creative projects and free resources on the micro:bit website

  • Pictures to Share a lovely series of books that can help support those living with dementia. There are 20 different titles and they help prompt conversation about a wide range of subjects using pictures, quotes and poetry.

    You can reserve these dementia friendly titles to collect from your chosen library for free with an exempt library card, which you are entitled to if you have, or care for someone with a disability or mental health needs

  • Bag Books multisensory stories designed to be enjoyed by both adults and children with severe or profound and multiple learning disabilities. They can also be enjoyed by those living with autism and people with visual and hearing impairments.

    Search for "Bag Books" on our online catalogue to see which stories are available.

 

Make the most of your local libraries


Everyone is welcome

Visit our libraries across Kent to browse our shelves, catch up with friends online with our free computer and WiFi access, or meet new people at one of our friendly social groups. Share a story or have fun with little ones in our cheery children's areas - many libraries also offer activity and colouring sheets as well as our regular children's events. Find out more below.

Children's library

If you ever need a place to work or study away from home, university or the office, why not pop along to your local library?

Most of our libraries offer spaces for individuals to work or study, and many have spaces for small groups and meetups.

Wherever or whatever you are studying, researching or working on we have librarians, books and online resources to help you.

Pop into your local library and have a chat with us to find out more or contact our Ask a Kent Librarian team.

Check for local updates and availability before your visit.

 

Studying at the library

Interested in history, researching your local area or family tree? 

Kent Libraries and Kent Archives are venues to explore local, family and community history.

Our resources include:

For more information visit our website and contact your local library to see what's on offer

Kent Archives talk


Did you know? We hold events and exhibitions in libraries across Kent and online.

Living Knowledge Network

Kent Libraries and Archives are part of The British Library's Living Knowledge Network, which brings world-class speakers, emerging voices and inspirational debate to public libraries and the people who use them. Compelling cultural events are livestreamed and hosted in libraries across the UK, so you can get a front-row seat for free no matter where you live.

Take a look at our Living Knowledge Network page to learn more about past and upcoming exhibitions in Kent Libraries.

Explore the Living Knowledge Network website to watch previous events and discover what's coming up across the country.

Living Knowledge Network

 

Author Talks

We often hold author talks in our libraries. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and on Eventbrite for updates.

Author Talks in Kent Libraries

Online Events

Catch up with our recorded events and interviews online via our YouTube channel. Don't forget to subscribe for updates.

Video not loading? Watch on YouTube

Join a social group in a library near you


Our libraries offer safe and welcoming spaces for people to come together, to support learning, develop new skills, and meet new friends.

Take a look at the type of groups we host below.

Would you be interested in starting and hosting a new social group at your local library? To find out how we can support you with this, get in touch with us. 

D&D, bridge, scrabble, chess, crib, board games, jigsaw puzzles and more! Friendly groups for adults who want to meet and chat while doing an activity.

A great opportunity to make friends and socialise. Find your nearest group

Board games with friends

Many of our libraries host crafting sessions and creative writing groups. These are friendly, informal groups and everyone's welcome.

Come along, pick up some skills, share your own, or bring your own craft along. No skills or experience? No problem! Our lovely volunteers and group members offer tuition and skill sharing including knitting, crochet, cross-stitch, sewing, embroidery, creative writing and poetry.

Meet like-minded people, learn new skills and see what you can create. Find your nearest group

Craft and chat

Learning English?

Come along to our meet and practise sessions to meet new people and practise speaking in an informal and friendly place. 

Find your nearest group

Learn a language at the library

Meet new people, have exciting debates and pick up books you would never have imagined reading at one of our reading groups. 

We are proud to support over 700 reading groups across the county. Whether you are younger, older, have a disability, or are just not a regular reader, there's probably a reading group for you. Many welcome new members. We also host Beyond Word book clubs for people who find pictures easier to understand than words.

If you are interested in joining a reading group at the library, find a group near you using our postcode search

Bookshelves

Save some money by borrowing your next book club choice from the library. Our reading group library cards enable groups to reserve multiple copies of books which we have in stock or individual titles for free, with no charges for late returns, and to borrow books for 8 weeks

Get in touch with your local library to see how we can support your existing book club, or if you'd like to start a new reading group. 

Our relaxed and friendly tea and chat sessions give our library users a chance to meet new friends and take part in quizzes, reminiscence and outings.

A perfect opportunity to enjoy a cup of tea and have a good chat. Find your nearest group

Tea and chat at the library

Free activities for families


We hold loads of FREE regular events, groups and activities in our libraries for babies, toddlers, children and teenagers across Kent.

Find out more about the range of activities we offer below or on our website.

    Join us at Playground, an exciting programme of free creative play sessions for very young children!

    Led by a team of brilliant artists and musicians, families with babies and toddlers are sharing creative play in libraries and children's centres across Kent. Gain confidence, tips and ideas for continuing creative play at home. 

    Find your nearest Playground session using our postcode search.

    Playground session at the library

    Video not loading? Watch on YouTube

    A free, fun and noisy way for under 3s to develop a love of language and a foundation for learning.

    Each session lasts about 20 minutes and includes the opportunity to join in with nursery rhymes, action songs and to have a catch up with other local families.

    Find your nearest Baby Rhyme Time session using our postcode search.

    Baby Rhyme Time at the library

    Come and join one of our storytime sessions for 3 to 4 year olds - it's great fun!

    Listening to stories is a great way to develop and encourage young children to read books.

    Find your nearest Storytime using our postcode search.

    Storytime at the library

    We hold lots of regular, free events and activities for children and families in libraries across Kent.

    Lego Clubs, Code Clubs, Homework Clubs, Storytimes, seasonal craft activities and more! 

    Find out what's on near you.

    Fun for children at the library

    Children, teenagers and students can study in any of our libraries across Kent. 

    You can reserve books and other items via our online catalogue for free on a child or teen library card, to collect from any chosen library in Kent. We have a huge selection of books and other resources specially chosen to help children with their homework.

    With permission from a parent or guardian, under 16s can log onto our public PCs and WiFi for free using their library card details. Children and young people under 18 in full-time education can also claim free printouts and photocopying for homework (up to 5 sheets per day) at any library in Kent. 

    Study at the library

    Community projects


    We work with lots of organisations and partners to host and support the delivery of projects in our local communities.

    Take a look below to see what's happening near you...

    ...and if you are looking to work with one of our libraries, or if you run a project that could help to support your local community get in touch with us

    Folkestone Community Fridge

    Folkestone's first ever community fridge is now open and aims to reduce food waste in the community and make food accessible to everyone. 

    The fridge is for anybody to use and is not means tested. It's not an emergency food supply or food bank, anyone is welcome to come along and take as much as they like - although not so much that the food has to be thrown out, as this is what the project is trying to avoid. Please bring your own bags, and take what you need!

    The project, which is located at Wood Avenue Library, is led by volunteers. The aim is to be able to help all sorts of people access fresh, healthy food for free and rescue some of the £3 billion worth of food that gets wasted every year. 

    Volunteers collect food from local supermarkets, take donations from individuals or small businesses and work with community groups to stock the fridge with (literally) tonnes of food. 

    • Follow Folkestone's Community Fridge on Facebook 
    • Follow them on Instagram 
      @folkestonecommunityfridge

    Green Doctors Kent

    Worried about your energy bills? Interested in finding out how you could save money and stay warm? Keep an eye out for free sessions at your local library, courtesy of Green Doctors Kent.

    They host drop-in sessions at venues across Kent where you can book in to have a consultation in person and speak to a team member face to face about your energy concerns. They update their locations and availability on a monthly basis so look out for when they are near you! These advice sessions can help with:

    • Support with energy and water debt by accessing/applying eligible discounts
    • Practical energy advice to reduce energy waste and lower bills
    • Checking for cheaper tariffs and deals
    • Assessing bills & explaining statements
    • Onward referrals for help with food, white goods and warm items
    • Providing free energy saving measures & explaining their use
    • Accessing grants for insulation measures or repairs relating to energy performance

      *To prepare please arrive with your latest bill statements and any letters relating to your queries.

    Find a session near you


    There are lots of different funding opportunities available to community organisations, or anyone leading a project with a public benefit.
    As a local authority, Kent County Council offer lots of funding programmes you can apply for directly. There are more schemes to explore from other local authorities, public bodies or businesses too.

    Find and apply for funding from Kent County Council and other organisations, search through funding guides and resources and find out more about Crowdfund Kent, helping community-led projects around Kent raise funds from local donations.

    Volunteer with us!


    We're looking for volunteers to help us host events, deliver activities and to help support our services.

    People volunteer for a range of reasons, and each volunteering opportunity provides its own unique experience. Volunteering can help you to:

    • develop new skills and experience
    • enhance your CV
    • gain valuable references
    • meet new people
    • make a difference to other people’s lives
    • build your confidence in the workplace.

    Watch the video below to find out what we get up to in libraries and archives.

    Interested in volunteering with us?

    Visit our website for more information and to apply online.

    Video not loading? Watch on YouTube

    Support services

    If you have money worries or are looking for ways you can make your money go further, Kent County Council can help you to find your way through the advice and support available.

    Visit Kent County Council's Cost of Living Support pages 

    Social tariffs for broadband are discounted deals offered by various broadband providers to support households on low income or in financial hardship. Access to good quality, reliable broadband is essential. Social tariffs help people access cheaper deals and could save eligible households around £150 per year.

    Digital Kent have put together some information about the providers who offer discounted broadband deals and how to apply for them

    Social tariffs for broadband


    Have you heard of our Reading Well collection?

    Reading Well supports you to understand and manage your health and wellbeing using helpful reading. Reading Well booklists include children, teens, mental health, long term conditions and dementia.

    All of the books are recommended by health experts, as well as people with lived experience of the conditions and topics covered and their relatives and carers and are free to reserve and borrow from Kent Libraries.

    Video not loading? Watch on YouTube

    Life can get really tough sometimes, but talking can help.

    Free expert advice from trained counsellors is available for every mental health concern from a highly trained and experienced team available 24/7 to provide expert support. Head to their website to get in contact

    With You is a charity offering free talking therapies like counselling and cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) in Kent.

    They can help with a range of mental health problems, including stress, anxiety and depression. You don’t need a referral from your GP but you do need to be aged 17 or over and to be registered with a GP in Kent

    Head to their website to  complete a self-referral form

     

    Other warm welcome spaces in Kent


    Find other free, warm spaces in and around Kent

    Search with your postcode via the Warm Welcome Campaign and Warm Spaces websites