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Joining the library is free of charge and can be done at your local library (if you are under 16 you should be accompanied by your parent or carer) or online.

On this page you will find details of the services available once you have joined the library. Please note there are charges for some of the services listed, details of which can be found below.

Leisure card

If you receive one or more eligible benefits or rebates you can save money on library services with a Cheshire Leisure Card. 

Local studies

Most libraries have some material relating to their immediate locality. Larger libraries have items including books, pamphlets, trade directories, maps, local newspapers, census returns and parish registers. The main collection of books and pamphlets relating to the county is kept at Cheshire Archives and Local Studies.

Lost and damaged items

Charges for items that are lost are calculated using the scale of charges set out below. 

 All items including multi media  Charges
  • Up to two years in stock 
  • Two to four years in stock
  • Four to six years in stock
  • Six years and over in stock
  • Full purchase price
  • 75% of purchase price
  • 50% of purchase price
  • 25% of purchase price

The minimum charge for any lost or damaged item is £2.50. An administration charge of £2.50 will be deducted from any refund, if a lost item is found.

Lost library cards

If you lose your library membership card please first check whether it has been handed in at your local library. If this is not the case, please contact us immediately so that we make sure it isn't used fraudulently.

Please note: to obtain a new card you will need to bring one form of identification to a library and will be a charge for a replacement adult card

Meeting rooms

Many of our libraries have meeting rooms which can be hired by community groups and businesses. Please see our meeting room hire charges page for information on charges and booking details.

Memory boxes

Memory boxCheshire Memories is a collection of 22 themed Memory Boxes containing a range of material, including objects, photographs, poetry, music, books and smell boxes. They are ideal for using in reminiscence activities and are available for use with social/community groups and other local organisations. They can be borrowed on a library card for three weeks, and are subject to a £1 reservation fee.

For the full collection and/or to reserve a memory box, please visit the Cheshire libraries catalogue below.


Our Libraries offer a free loanable Micro:Bits scheme, available in every library. Adults and children aged 8 and over can borrow a ready-made Micro:Bit kit from their local library, which includes everything needed to learn the very basics of coding and programming. To get you started, there are also instructions included for coding some easy themed games and activities.

All Micro:Bit kits are available to borrow free of charge for three weeks. Ask in your local library for more information.

Music scores

You can borrow sheet music for your choir or orchestra.

Charges for music scores are as follows

  • Orchestral sets £30 per set for up to four months
  • Vocal scores £1 per copy for up to four months

Music should be ordered no later than six weeks before the date by which the music is required. You will be notified, usually within 1-2 weeks, wether or not we can supply the music you have requested. Just pay on collection at your chosen library and return items to the same library.

Cheshire has some vocal scores of its own.

You can also borrow scores not in our collection and orchestral sets from other counties. Contact us for more information.


Each library takes at least one local and one national daily newspaper, which may be read in the library. Most libraries also keep backdated copies of local newspapers. Please see the eResources section on the website for more newspapers available online, through Newsbank and historical newspapers through the Times Digital Archive..


There are several ways that we can communicate with customers about their loans. You can choose the most convenient methods for you by logging into your account or asking at your local library.

We can send you a reminder email three days before your loans are due for return so that you can renew or return your loans on time without incurring any fines. If your loans do become overdue we can let you know either by post, email or text message. If you reserve an item we can let you know when it is ready for collection by post, email or text message.


Most libraries have black and white photocopiers for you to use. Some larger libraries have colour photocopiers. There are charges for using copiers.

  • Copier charges


Larger libraries will have some photographs relating to their locality. There is also a countywide collection of photographs, slides, prints and other images at Cheshire Archives and Local Studies.


A PIN password is required to access your account on the catalogue and to use computers in libraries. If you do not know your PIN / password please contact us quoting your library card number and date of birth.


The Play Collection is held in Chester Library at Storyhouse and includes a selection of full length plays, one act plays, children’s plays, youth drama, sketches and monologues, and pantomimes. The plays are free to borrow and collect from Storyhouse, but there is a charge of £1 per copy, to reserve and collect at your local Cheshire West Library. For availability please check the library catalogue.


All libraries, apart from Hoole Library and the Mobile Library, provide printing facilities, both in colour and black and white. This is on a self-service basis, using the library’s computers. There are charges for printing.

Reading groups

Cheshire West and Chester Libraries offer reading groups a subscription to The Reading Group Collection.

Books can be borrowed by registered groups for a six week loan period, and are delivered to your local library for collection. Subscription charge for the service is £80 per year. To register for the scheme please contact the Reading Group Administrator.

Reading groups are also held in libraries. Please contact your local library for further details.

Reference collections

All libraries have a collection of reference books such as almanacs, atlases, dictionaries, directories, encyclopedias and yearbooks.  The larger libraries have more extensive collections for students and have trained staff available to handle more complex enquiries. Study facilities are also available.


Please see  Memory Boxes.

Renewing items

If you would like to keep your items past the original return date you can renew them, as long as they haven't been reserved by another customer. If you don't renew your items and do keep them longer than the return date you will be liable to pay charges. Books can be renewed without coming into the library up to four times, and then must be brought into a library for any further renewal. Multimedia items such as CDs and DVDs will incur a further hire charge at the rate of the original loan when renewed. There are several ways that you can renew:

  • on the catalogue 24 hours a day. You need your library card number and PIN / password.
  • on the 24 hour renewal phone line 0300 123 7739, you need your library card number.
  • using the online chat service, during office hours
  • by telephone or in person at any library during opening hours
  • by contacting us online, quoting your name and library card number.

Reserving and requesting items

You can reserve items online, you will need your library card number and PIN. If you would like to borrow an item that is not held by any Cheshire Library, we may be able to purchase it for you or obtain it through our Interlending Unit from another library authority. Please contact us to request an item in this way. There are charges for reserving items.

Returning items on loan

Items on loan can be returned to any Cheshire West and Chester Library or Cheshire East Library, during their opening hours. Alternatively, items can be renewed without coming into the library – see Renewing items


All libraries provide access to scanning facilities (A4). This is on a self-service basis, using the library’s computers.

Storytime and rhymetime

Aimed at young children and held at your local library following a  regular timetable.

Visual impairment

All libraries have collections of books in large print as well as Talking Books on Cassette and CD. People who have difficulty reading print or handling books can get free reservations on large print books and talking books, and are not charged for the loan of talking books.

We provide children’s large print books in many libraries, and also giant print books and talking books. Clearvision  books (picture books with text overlaid with Braille) allow a sighted child and visually impaired adult (or vice versa) to share a book together. They may be requested from your local library.

Some of our larger libraries also have extra facilities for the visually impaired, such as video magnifiers (allowing print to be magnified to large sizes), Pronto Reading Machines (converting the printed word into synthetic speech) and various computer software. such as Supernova, enabling computer text and the internet to be available in magnified and synthetic speech formats.

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