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Changes to Library Services

From 26th March, we are changing the way we provide library services in the Borough.

For many years, we have provided library services jointly with Essex County Council and Thurrock Council through a partnership called Essex Libraries Service. This has meant that customers could borrow books from – and return them to - any library in Essex.

From 26th March we will be working with a different, larger group of libraries across the South East instead of Essex Library Service.

The group of libraries we are joining is the South East Library Management System (SELMS). SELMS is a consortium of library services in the south east of England which has joined together to deliver better services for all its customers

How does this benefit me?

More books and resources – Under the new service, you will be able to choose from a greater range of books and other library resources than at present.

Lower charges – The charges for borrowing books from other libraries within our network will reduce by approximately half when we join SELMS.

Choice of reminders by email – At present, we send a letter when your reserved book has arrived or your book has become overdue. Under the new service, you will be able to choose to receive notifications by email or text message, meaning you can pick up your books sooner and avoid overdue charges building up. You can continue to receive these communications by post if you prefer.

What do I need to do?

Check your “home” library

When you joined the Essex Library Service, you were asked to choose a “home library”.

If your home library is in the Southend Borough, you will automatically transfer to the SELMS service and will no longer be able to use libraries in the rest of Essex from 26th March with your current ticket. If you wish to keep using libraries in Essex as well, you will need to register to become a new member of Essex Library Service.

If your home library is in Essex or Thurrock, you will remain a member of the Essex Library Service and will no longer be able to use libraries in Southend from 26th March with your current ticket. If you wish to keep using libraries in Southend, you will need to register to become a new member of Southend Libraries.

If you are unsure of which is your home library, you can check and amend your online account. Alternatively, speak to a staff member or volunteer when you next visit the library.

Return your library items to the correct library service

Because Southend Libraries will no longer be a member of the Essex Library Service, you will need to return books you have borrowed from Southend to a library in Southend once the changes have come into force on 26th March. For example, you will no longer be able to borrow a book from Southend and return it to a library in Rochford. Similarly, if you borrow a book from a library in Essex or Thurrock, you will no longer be able to return it to a library in Southend.

New tickets

Customers whose home library is in Southend can continue to use their existing library card to borrow books and other resources in Southend. However, when it expires, you will receive a new SELMS library card. You can chose to join Essex Library Service too if you wish.

Customers whose home library is in Essex or Thurrock will not receive new library cards. If you wish to use Southend libraries, you must join as a new member.

Interim arrangements

In preparation for the change, from 5th February Essex customers will not be able reserve Southend items. Items belonging to Southend will not appear on the Essex catalogue after 5th March. 

For further information please view or download our Library Changes FAQs.

Page last updated: 26/01/2018