Libraries – Frequently Asked Questions

You are welcome into any of our libraries to use the Internet, read a newspaper or carry out research. If you register you can also borrow books, ebooks, CDs and DVDs.

What ID do I need to join the library?

You will need to show us two proofs of identity, one showing your signature and one showing your current address.

These proofs of identity are acceptable:

  • driving licence
  • recent bank statement (no more than two months old)
  • Council Tax bill
  • tenancy agreement
  • recent utility, telephone or credit card bill (no more than two months old)
  • credit card
  • bank card
  • store card
  • passport

Can I see the library catalogue online?

You can use the online library catalogue to search for books, CDs or DVDs; or to reserve or renew items.

How many items can I borrow?

Adults can borrow up to 20 books, 10 DVDs and 10 CDs. Under-18s can borrow up to 20 books and 10 CDs.

In addition you can borrow up to four ebooks from our eBooks.

You can borrow books and CDs for three weeks and DVDs for one week. You have to pay a charge to borrow DVDs and CDs, but books are free.

For an annual fee of £50, you can borrow up to 10 DVDs or CDs (two weeks for DVDs, four weeks for CDs), with no additional loan charges.

How can I renew items?

You can renew books using the online library catalogue as long as you know your library barcode and four-digit PIN. Ask a member of library staff if you do not know your PIN.

You can renew or return loans from any of Reading’s libraries at any branch, regardless of where they were issued. You can also renew your items by phone.

You can renew items up to four times as long as they have not been reserved by another user.

Can you remind me when my loans are due?

We can email you just before items are due back – contact us to activate this service.

By default we will email you after a week and three weeks if items go overdue.

You can login to your account if you aren’t sure when something is due back.

What are your charges?

We have produced a detailed list of our library charges for you to refer to.

Do you run any activities for children in the libraries?

We run lots of activities for children. Have a look at our What’s On Reading events and activities page to find out more.

Do you run any activities for adults in the libraries?

We run lots of regular activities for adults, including coffee mornings, craft groups and talks by authors, amongst other things. Have a look at our What’s On Reading events and activities page to find out more.

Can you help me find out about local and family history?

Central Library has a Local Studies collection on the second floor. This contains books, photographs, newspapers, maps, magazines, newsletters and ephemera from all around Berkshire.

We provide a research service for people who are unable to visit the library. You can contact the research team or call on 0118 901 5950. The details of fees for this service and others are in our Local Studies charges factsheet.

You can order illustrations using our order form.

Are your services accessible?

Elderly, Infirm and Disabled

All our libraries are fully accessible to wheelchair users.

Blind and Visually Impaired

If you are blind or visually impaired we do not charge for audio book loans.

Services for book groups or other groups

We have over 150 titles in our book club collection. You can use the online catalogue to see the selection of book group sets.

Choose a member of your group to be the ‘named user’ and register your book group at Central Library. If the named user lives outside Reading the group will have to pay £5 per set borrowed. To reserve a set, please complete the request form. For any other enquiries, please email

We also offer drama and vocal sets for drama groups and choirs. Contact for further details.

Can I use the internet for free in the libraries?

Library members can access the internet for free at all Reading libraries. You must have your library ticket with you to use this service.

Children under eight will only be allowed internet access when accompanied by a parent or legal guardian. Children and teenagers under the age of 14 will need written parental permission to use the Internet before they can use it in the library.

These free terminals offer a limited service, allowing you to view websites, email and print (for which there is a small charge). You can only use the Internet for a maximum of two hours a day. You will be automatically logged out 10 minutes before the library closes.

Is there wifi in the libraries?

Free wifi is available in all our libraries – you just need a library card to login.

Can I donate books to the library?

Yes we do accept donations of books at our libraries. We accept books that are less than 3 years old and as good as new. We cannot accept a large volume of donations i.e. a house clearance or AV items. We consider any items donated to the library according to our donations policy and if they are not wanted we may dispose of them. We cannot return any donated items. We will ask you to sign the donations register when you bring your items in to a library. Read our donations policy.