Library Community Services

Services we offer include:

  • e-books and e-audio for download
  • library services for the disabled and their carers
  • mobile library
  • multi-cultural services
  • skills for life
  • reading ahead
  • home library service

E-Books and E-Audio for Download Services

Southend readers can access hundreds of free e-books and e-audio. An e-book is an electronic version of a book which can be read either on a computer, or on some e-book readers, tablets or smartphones. Some e-books are read via a web browser, like a web page, while others need to be downloaded.

E-audiobooks are audio books which are borrowed as an audio file that you need to download online. You can then listen to these on a range of devices, including MP3 players, tablets and smartphones.

For details and to start downloading titles view the website.

Library Services for the Disabled and Carers

Southend libraries provide a wide range of services for disabled customers including:

  • large print books
  • spoken word CDs
  • audio-described DVDs
  • induction loops
  • access to the internet, e-mail and computers
  • British sign language and lip-reading resources
  • disabled parking
  • disabled toilet facilities.

We also provide a wide range of services for carers and the people they look after - and many of them are free.

For more information please see our related downloads at the bottom of this page.

Mobile Library

The Mobile Library offers visits once every three weeks to over a 106 residential homes, sheltered housing and hospices across the town.

Stock includes:

  • over 2000 books
  • large print titles
  • videos
  • DVDs
  • audio books.

The Mobile Library also has a step lift, wheelchair access and induction loops.

Multi-Cultural Services

We also offer a number of adult and children’s books in many different languages including:

  • Albanian
  • Chinese
  • Dutch
  • French
  • German
  • Italian
  • Polish
  • Russian
  • Spanish
  • Gujarati
  • Hindi
  • Urdu.

There are also many newspapers and magazines of interest to different ethnic groups available as well as a wide range of world cinema DVD titles and world music CD titles available from the library catalogue.

English language courses are also available for loan for speakers of other languages and we also hold information on English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) courses at Southend Adult Community College.

A Free Polish translation service is also available every Friday at 10am – 2pm at The Forum. The session is to help the Polish community with anything from Housing to Transport enquiries.

For more information please call Jadzia on 01702 431003. 

Skills for Life 

We also offer a Skills for Life service which includes:

  • Help for tutors and students
  • the Get On collection
  • the Quick Reads collection
  • language and citizenship testing
  • Life in the UK test
  • ESOL with citizenship courses. 

Reading Ahead with Southend Libraries 

If you're thinking about improving your reading or would like to read more, then Reading Ahead is for you. This free scheme invites you to pick six reads and record them in a free reading diary to get a certificate. 

You are able to register at any Southend Library, or at The Forum. It is free to take part. 

You can really read anything you like: books, newspapers, poems, plays, websites, e-books on a Kindle, Talking Books or anything else you want. Anyone completing the Challenge in Southend receives their certificate at a celebration event held in the town. If you need more details about Reading Ahead, please call the Community Development Team, Southend Libraries on: 01702 534123 or e-mail the Community Development Team

You can also visit our Library pages and The Forum website.

For more details about the Reading Ahead scheme plese visit Reading Ahead or visit the Reading Agency website.

Home Library Service

We offer a free, volunteer led, service delivering library resources to customers in their homes when they may no longer be able to visit the library. For further information please contact the Community Development Officers Team on 01702 534123 or

Please note that the Home Library Service can only reach a limited number of people at any one time. It is therefore important that the service is provided for those people who need it most. This means that you may be asked to wait until there is a place available at your nearest library.

Page last updated: 20/10/2017