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Countdown to separation of library services in Southend and Essex

Published Thursday, 1st March 2018

The Forum

Library users in Southend and Essex are being reminded to check their account details before 5 March as the two library services prepare to separate.

Currently, Southend Libraries is a member of Essex Library Service, meaning that customers in Southend can borrow books from – and return them to – any library in Southend, Essex and Thurrock.

However, on 26 March, Southend Libraries will leave Essex Library Service and become a member of a larger library consortium called South East Library Management System, giving them access to a wider range of books and library resources and lower charges for inter-library loans.

Ahead of the separation of the two library services, library customers can check their “home library” by 5 March, to determine which library service they are a member of in future. You can find out which is your home library by checking your online account details, calling the library or asking a member of staff.

Customers whose “home library” is listed as being within Southend on 5 March will continue to be members of Southend Library Service after 26 March and will no longer be able to borrow books from Essex without also becoming a member of Essex Library Service. Instead, they will have access to resources from other libraries in the SELMS consortium.

Customers whose home library is listed as a library within Essex or Thurrock on 5 March, will no longer be able to borrow books from Southend after 26 March without also becoming a member of Southend Library Service.

Dual membership of both Southend Library Service and Essex Library Service will be permitted under a joint agreement between the two services. However, library items borrowed from libraries within Southend must be returned to a library in Southend and, likewise, items borrowed from a library in Essex must be returned to a library in Essex.

If you wish to change your home library, you can do so by calling 01702 215011 by 5pm on Monday 5 March.

Cllr Ann Holland, Executive Councillor for Culture, Tourism and the Economy, said: “Becoming a member of SELMS is an exciting new chapter for libraries in Southend. It will give our library members access to a greater catalogue of books and resources with reduced fees for inter-library loans.

“It will also give Southend-on-Sea Borough Council greater autonomy in the way it manages its libraries and modernise the way we communicate with customers. For example, library customers will be able to opt to be updated on reserved or overdue items by text or email instead of by post if they wish.”

For further information about the separation of Southend and Essex Libraries, please visit our Library Changes page.