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.

Consultation has concluded

  • Free books!

    by Teleave, 9 months ago

    Despite a very poor bureaucratic response to our school wishing to visit our local library in small groups during Book Week*, and being told that the whole school could only visit during a period of 1 hour on a Thursday afternoon, I’m so glad that, despite that unwelcoming start, our class still visited!

    What a response - most children had never been in a library before and could not get over the fact that there are ‘free books’ - and that they can borrow them for 6 weeks! Yes, 42 days children!

    We spent much longer than expected (beyond our... Continue reading

  • Dementia and me meetings

    by ShirleyB, 9 months ago
    My husband and I regularly go to our town library in Hythe for the Dementia and me meetings. These session’s are important to us for the social time and activities we do making life less lonely.
  • Human Contact through Books

    by hs382, 9 months ago
    The library has been so important to me during lockdown- the power of books to connect is so powerful. Not only did I read more to fill the hours, but every interaction I had with library staff was an utter joy.
  • Our Family History Group experience

    by Gena, 10 months ago

    We’re a small but involved Family History Group in Canterbury, and meet regularly together. We rely upon the library for Family History books, or for ordering them in. It’s a pity that the charges for ordering in from out of area are getting so high that it’s sometimes cheaper to buy from the dreaded Am…. than borrow books.

    We’re aware of the family history support, but since we have a certain experience between ourselves, we so far prefer to share knotty problems and get ideas from the other members of the group.

    As we’re in the retired bracket, we don’t
    ... Continue reading
  • Amazing service

    by Amsndb, 10 months ago
    I use my local library on a regular basis and I find it a calm, welcoming and happy space. The staff are always super helpful and friendly, the stock seems to regularly change and my son and I thoroughly enjoy our visits. I also use the online service via Libby and it's great - handy to get recently released books and came in very handy over the pandemic!
  • Wonderful service

    by maggiemagic, 10 months ago
    I love the library the staff are so helpful and professional I have even applied to volunteer there I love it so much I have used the citizens advice bureau service there and council services there which was a godsend as I get anxious on public transport and only had to walk to the library it helps me a great deal stops me from feeling lonely and cheers me up no end looking browsing at the display of books
  • Essential Service

    by valjules, 10 months 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, 10 months 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 months 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 months 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