Bedford Borough Libraries

What our service does

Public Libraries provide access to reading, learning, culture, information and IT, and help to bridge social and digital divides. They support well-being, encourage reading and learning, and help to foster identity, community and a sense of place for people of all ages, backgrounds and cultures.

The Borough's library service is provided through five Libraries (Bedford, Putnoe, Kempston, Bromham and Wootton), the Mobile Library, the Library Link service for those who cannot visit the library themselves, Kempston Homework Centre, the Virtual Library, and a range of community outreach and library based activities, as well as the Schools Library Service and Bookstart Service.

The service fulfils its role by providing libraries where people can read and borrow books and other stock, use a library computer or wifi, discover information, get help from knowledgeable staff, and make use of the safe, welcoming, community space which libraries provide; as well as providing a service via the virtual library with online access to library services, information, e-resources and other content, including areas especially for children and young adults.

Libraries also provide a range of events and activities for children and young people including Rhymetimes, Family Fun and Holiday Story and Craft activities, and the Summer Reading Challenge.

Location of our service

The Library Service operates as a linked network, with each library (physical or virtual) providing customers with a local point of access to the service as a whole.

Bedford Central Library, Harpur Street, Bedford MK40 1PG
Bromham Library, Springfield Drive, Bromham MK43 8NT
Kempston Library, Halsey Road, Kempston MK42 8AU
Putnoe Library, Library Walk, Putnoe Street, Putnoe MK41 8HQ
Wootton Library, Lorraine Road, Wootton MK43 9LH
Mobile Library Timetable is available on the Virtual Library
Virtual Library available 24/7

Library opening hours are available on the Virtual Library.

Who our service provides for

Board Books for babies and toddlers including board books with textures, flaps and sounds. A wide range of picture books for pre-school children. Children's story books and non-fiction books to support children up to the age of 14 years (KS1 - KS3). Children's audio - books (books on CD) and Children's DVDs.

Teen Library containing young adult fiction and non-fiction and audio-books.
Limited range of Children's Large Print due to there no longer being a supplier/publisher of children's large print.
Limited range to Access2Books' picture books with Giant Print and Braille.
Range of HiLow/Dyslexia friendly reading/story books e.g. Barrington Stoke.
Talking Together Collection - sexual health and emotional information and resources aimed at young adults with a learning disability.
Range of dual language picture books for children.
Baby and Childcare collection for parents and carers.

How to start using our service

The Library Service is free to join and there is no age limit to joining - babies and toddlers are welcome. The Library Service is available to all who live, work and study in Bedford Borough.

There is no charge for borrowing books and children/teenagers can have free requests.

Children/teenagers who are Registered Unsighted, Partially Sighted, Deaf, Hearing Impaired or Dyslexic are entitled to free audio-visual loans. Proof of entitlement is needed to access the concessionary rate.

Proof of name and address is required for full membership.

How decisions are made about who can use our service

Universal access.

How we communicate with our service users

Range of leaflets promoting Bedford Borough Library Services including Welcome to the Library, Family Friendly information, Virtual Library leaflet etc.

Library Website - the Virtual Library
Social Media including Facebook and Twitter
Face to face contact with service users
Library User Surveys - Children's and Young People survey 2014
Customer Feedback Forms and online feedback through the Virtual Library
Not In Stock Requests - parents/children/young people are able to request/suggest books/DVDS/CDs for stock.

Accessibility of our service

All libraries are accessible via public transport. The Mobile Library visits villages and rural communities, with a published timetable of visits and stop locations.

All libraries are wheelchair accessible with automatic doors. The Central Library also has a lift to all floors. The Mobile Library has an accessible step lift; and the Library Link Mobile for people who are housebound has a specially designed low chassis and ramp.

There are public disabled toilet facilities at Bedford Central and Wootton Libraries.

All libraries have an Induction Loop at the staff desk/help point.

Library activities and services are open to all children and young people unless an activity is targeted at a particular age group.

Posters, flyers, adverts on the Virtual Library and Social Media will provide guidance on whether activities and events are universal or targeted at a particular age group.

Assistive technology is available in all libraries - all library computers provide access to Microsoft accessibility settings and we also offer large and contrast keyboards and mice.

Qualifications and training of our staff

Bedford Borough Libraries has a Safeguarding Policy. All staff are aware of the policy and designated staff have been trained in safeguarding.

Staff training has included Disability Awareness, Autism Awareness and a range of other customer and service related training.

Specialist Children's Librarians are based at Bedford Central Library.

General Contact Information

Library staff provide help and support for all customers and will refer customers to specialist librarians or alternative organisations as required.

Sue Shead, Senior Librarian can be contacted for queries, advice about books and library services for children and young people.

Contact for more information

Sue Shead
Senior Librarian
Bedford Central Library, Harpur Street, Bedford, MK40 1PG
01234 718178
01234 315490
Opening Hours:
Library Opening Hours are listed on the Virtual Library