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. 

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 library catalogue.

Library Services for Disabled People and Carers

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

  • large print books
  • spoken word CDs
  • audio-described DVDs
  • access to the internet, e-mail and computers
  • British sign language and lip-reading resources
  • Disabled parking - Forum, Kent Elms and Shoeburyness branches.
  • Disabled toilets - Forum, Kent Elms and Shoeburyness
  • Induction loops - Forum, Leigh and Southchurch

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 vehicles offer visits once every two weeks to residential care homes, sheltered housing and hospices across the town. The new route will begin on Monday 5 November.

Those living in a retirement complex that is no longer on the route can apply for the home library service, which offers a similar service run by volunteers.

Those who wish to apply for the home library service, please call the Community Development team on 01702 534123 and ask about the service.

Please use the interactive map below to view times, days and locations the Mobile Library will be visiting.


Multi-Cultural Services

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

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.

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, spoken word 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

For more details about the Reading Ahead scheme please visit Reading Ahead.

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 Team on 01702 534123 or

The Home Library Service can only reach a limited number of people at any one time. So we will seek to provide the service 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: 30/10/2018