Let's talk about Kent Libraries

We know how much people love our libraries. We love them too.

You may have noticed the range of services we deliver has continued to change and expand over recent years to meet the needs of Kent’s communities. The way we deliver many of these services has also changed to reflect the growth of technology and new ways of communicating.

You won’t be surprised to learn that the pace of this change quickened during the pandemic. We had to adapt fast to ensure that we continued to still be able to deliver a library service. This meant:

  • developing the digital services we provide (e-books, e-magazines and newspapers) and making it easier to join the library virtually
  • delivering events and activities online while still prioritising services to those most in need via our befriending telephone calls, home library service and postal loan service
  • developing our select and collect book offer which meant books could be selected and picked up at the library or mobile library front door.

We have now reopened all our 99 libraries and mobile libraries with measures in place to ensure we keep everyone as safe as possible. Find out more about the full range of services we provide.

We know that the library services we provide are hugely valued by local people. The Libraries, Registration and Archives Strategy helps us to steer the service in the right direction. This is even more important as we continue to recover from lockdown.

Our current strategy runs until the end of 2022, and whether you are a current library user or not, we need your help to develop a new one. Our early conversations with library users, residents and partners will be vital in helping to shape Kent library services for the future.

Update 26 January 2022

Over the last few months your feedback has been helping us to understand whether your use of library services has changed and how you feel about them.

From this we now need your help identifying what our priorities should be and have created a new survey to help capture your thoughts.

We encourage you to subscribe on this page (under 'Stay Informed') for further opportunities to help shape our new strategy.

How to get involved

There are currently three ways you can help:

  • take part in a second Survey, which explores in more detail some of the feedback you have provided so far
  • tell us what Kent Libraries mean to you by clicking on the Stories tab below
  • use our Ideas board to tell us what would encourage you to use our services more or for the first time. This could be your ideas for new services or improvements to our existing services.

You can take part in any or all of these activities - it's completely up to you!

We know how much people love our libraries. We love them too.

You may have noticed the range of services we deliver has continued to change and expand over recent years to meet the needs of Kent’s communities. The way we deliver many of these services has also changed to reflect the growth of technology and new ways of communicating.

You won’t be surprised to learn that the pace of this change quickened during the pandemic. We had to adapt fast to ensure that we continued to still be able to deliver a library service. This meant:

  • developing the digital services we provide (e-books, e-magazines and newspapers) and making it easier to join the library virtually
  • delivering events and activities online while still prioritising services to those most in need via our befriending telephone calls, home library service and postal loan service
  • developing our select and collect book offer which meant books could be selected and picked up at the library or mobile library front door.

We have now reopened all our 99 libraries and mobile libraries with measures in place to ensure we keep everyone as safe as possible. Find out more about the full range of services we provide.

We know that the library services we provide are hugely valued by local people. The Libraries, Registration and Archives Strategy helps us to steer the service in the right direction. This is even more important as we continue to recover from lockdown.

Our current strategy runs until the end of 2022, and whether you are a current library user or not, we need your help to develop a new one. Our early conversations with library users, residents and partners will be vital in helping to shape Kent library services for the future.

Update 26 January 2022

Over the last few months your feedback has been helping us to understand whether your use of library services has changed and how you feel about them.

From this we now need your help identifying what our priorities should be and have created a new survey to help capture your thoughts.

We encourage you to subscribe on this page (under 'Stay Informed') for further opportunities to help shape our new strategy.

How to get involved

There are currently three ways you can help:

  • take part in a second Survey, which explores in more detail some of the feedback you have provided so far
  • tell us what Kent Libraries mean to you by clicking on the Stories tab below
  • use our Ideas board to tell us what would encourage you to use our services more or for the first time. This could be your ideas for new services or improvements to our existing services.

You can take part in any or all of these activities - it's completely up to you!

What do Kent library services mean to you? Tell us your story here.

We are very proud of our library service and all of the staff who work to deliver positive outcomes for the residents of Kent. 

We'd love to hear what the Kent library service means to you and particularly the positive difference it makes to your life.

Hearing your stories of when the library service has made a real difference, particularly over the pandemic, will help us to understand where our services have the greatest impact and what we should be developing and focusing on in our new strategy. 

You can add text, photos and videos to your story. However, please ensure you have permission to share anything featured here and don't use full names when referring to people, only first names.

To get us started we have added a few stories from our staff and customers.

Thank you for sharing your story with us.

If you have any ideas for how we could encourage more people to enjoy our library services, please feel free to tell us on our Ideas board.

You need to be signed in to share your story.

  • Essential Service

    by valjules, 2 days ago
    I have been a member of Kent libraries for over forty years and books have played an important part in my life for all that time. I have always particularly appreciated the face to face engagement with library staff, who are unfailingly helpful and professional in their roles. As I get older and spend increasing amounts of time on my own, books are more important than ever, and during lockdown having contact with the select and collect service was invaluable. I did use some digital services but find reading from a screen is in no way as enjoyable as reading... Continue reading
  • Hugely valued

    by Fizz123, 8 days ago
    I have been a member of Kent libraries since childhood and now use with my own kids (4 & 7). I love being able to access the physical location which is right on the heart of our village (Rusthall) with many friendly faces and am so glad to have it open again. It is a cozy old fashioned library still which I like much more. I also love being able to browse and access so much via the online catalogue and order it locally. Libraries are a brilliant sustainable facility, I hope as a society we start to think in... Continue reading
  • Long relationship with Kent Libraries

    by Gena, 10 days ago

    I joined Kent Libraries so far back that I can't remember when. But I used it, particularly when my daughter was small, when we'd go into the (old) children's library. Going in to the library was a regular part of my weekend routine. In later life, I've enjoyed being a volunteer there, mostly with Baby Rhymes. It's been really lovely to get to know the mums and toddlers, as well as working with the library staff, and understanding their pressures. My Reading Group has also used the library to source books - we do this as much from philosophy -... Continue reading

  • Lenham Library

    by Alice B, 11 days ago

    Our boys have been coming to the library since they were little and they love their weekly trips. Its become such a part of our routine and really encouraged their love of books. We love the friendly librarians and the boys particularly like requesting books to be reserved.

    I would have thought we would have read all the picture books in the library but they still seem to find different ones each visit- usually with much noise and excitement!

    Our eldest is now choosing reading books to to complement the ones he has at school and we have started on... Continue reading

  • Hawkhurst Library

    by Piper, 14 days ago
    I love the friendly service I get at my local library to which I can walk. I appreciate the chance to chat to the librarian and any other borrowers. I appreciate all the local information that is displayed there. Little local libraries may not make economic sense and may not have the greatest range of books but they are at the heart of the community and it is lovely to see young mums and their toddlers, us oldies, schoolchildren and a good mixture of other ages popping into a valued old building and being made so welcome.
  • Staplehurst Library - a central hub

    by Staplehurst Parish Council, 15 days ago

    Staplehurst Parish Council Library Consultation Response 2022

    I am writing on behalf of Staplehurst Parish Council (SPC).

    SPC consider that our library is essential to our community and much loved by our residents. Since it opened fifty years ago, it has become the central hub for sharing information and offering a wide-range of services and activities. It is a base for our Community Warden and surgeries are held for the Borough, Parish, Police and Community Protection Team. Residents have access to computers with help from the staff or computer buddy if necessary. Social activities include Knit and Natter, Book Club... Continue reading

  • Cheriton library and rhyme time

    by LinseyB, 17 days ago

    My toddler son and I really enjoy going to the library. He loves books and it's important for us that he can choose new books at the library regularly as we wouldn't be able to buy or store them all new. It's also been great to be able to go to Rhyme Time. It's easy to feel isolated as a parent of young children especially after lockdown, and this has helped. With young children it makes a big difference being able to walk to the library. Staff at Cheriton Library have also helped me find out about other local services.

  • Friendship and a love of reading

    by Barb, 21 days ago

    I worked for Kent libraries for a few years, and it was the best job I ever had. I made very good friends there, and working with other people who also loved books and reading was perfect. Talking to customers, and helping them with their search for different books was always fun, and very rewarding when we found an obscure one. Books are a wonderful panacea for the troubles that surround us now, and libraries a perfect source of endless reading material.

  • Wood Avenue Library

    by Jax_67, 21 days ago

    Libraries have always seemed magical to me, from when I was given my first library card as a child and told I could choose any book I liked and take it home!

    I’m so grateful to have discovered the lovely Wood Avenue library, as the warm welcome and enthusiasm of the staff member there has helped rekindle that magical feeling even on the darkest of days. His clear love of books and his kind, supporting, attitude really makes me feel a sense of belonging.

    I still get a thrill from choosing a new book to read, and it’s one of... Continue reading

  • Reducing loneliness

    by maggiemagic, 22 days ago
    I like the library because it stops me from feeling lonely and really helps

    My mental health wellbeing when I can go into the library and use the public computers and do photocopying and look at at all the books there is a good display of books and magazines I have also done voluntary work with the library in the past and thoroughly enjoyed the volunteering