Child reading with adult and young woman studying

Thank you

The initial survey has now closed – over 1,600 of you have helped us write The Next Chapter so far!

Over the next few weeks and months, supported by our research and engagement partners, we’ll be producing a report based on your responses, as well as feedback from our independent focus groups, interviews and research.

We’ll come back to you with some options later in the year, and there’ll be more opportunities to have your say.

Stay up to date with our progress on The Next Chapter and much more by signing up to our regular email newsletter.

young people

What do library services mean to you?

We know that our libraries, and the services we offer, are really important to our local communities.

  • Libraries are trusted spaces that are freely open and available to all.
  • They’re a place to pick up a new novel, read a story to your children, listen to an audio book and join in with a family-friendly event.
  • Libraries are for socialising; places where you can hang out with friends or make new ones, catch up and study together, or even try out a new hobby.
  • They’re places for all kinds of groups to meet: from doing homework and learning new languages and skills to playing games and having a knit and natter.
  • Libraries offer advice and guidance; whether you’re searching for a job or looking to start your own business. They’ve got computers, printers and free Wi-Fi as well as a huge range of physical and digital resources.

It’s clear that libraries are many things to many people!

Storyteller, books, computer in libraries

Why are we reviewing what we do? 

Due to gradual, and recent, circumstances that have affected us both nationally and locally, we feel that now is the right time to review what we deliver as a library service and ensure we continue to modernise and be of value to our communities.

Considering everyone

It’s important that we consider the needs of all the different people that use our services, both now and in the future. We are community spaces. We are social hubs. We are networking opportunities. We are places of learning and so much more. Now, with your help we want to reassess the services we offer and make sure they’re still the right ones.


The pandemic has also had a huge impact in how we deliver our services; putting even more emphasis on our online activities and events such as Totstime, and new innovative services such as Click & Collect.

An overview of the services and facilities available to everyone at Nottingham City Libraries

Cultural Hub

Promoting literature through books and resources: As a library member you can borrow up to 24 items at a time, including books, talking books, music scores, CDs & DVDs and language courses.

We also have a large collection of digital resources, including eBooks, eMagazines, eNewspapers, eAudio, eReference and more.

Click & Collect: You can order via our online form, and our staff will select up to 24 books for you, including children’s books, fiction, large print, non-fiction and talking books. Once all your books are ready you can come and collect them at your convenience.

Children and young people’s areas: All our libraries offer spaces for children and teenagers, and we offer a range of free activities for all ages.

Local studies and family history: Discover the history of Nottingham through our collection of archive documents, books, maps and photographs. Our expert Local Studies team also offer a remote research and enquiry service and can give advice on using our resources to help you research local and family history.

Cultural programme: We regularly host literary events, creative writing workshops, author talks and our yearly sell-out Reader’s Day event. Children can immerse themselves in theatre through a wide range of fantastic performances in our libraries through our partnership with The Spark Arts.

Nottingham Performing Arts Library Services (NPALS): NPALS lends multiple copies of plays, vocal scores and orchestral sets to organisations across Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire, Derby and directly to groups around the UK.

Social Hub

Stock collections: All our libraries have books and a selection of leaflets on a wide range of health topics, such as healthy living, specific conditions and mental health. We also have a collection of Memory Packs: reminiscence collections designed for people living with dementia.

Home Library Service: A free service for those with restricted mobility and their carers, who have no other way to use the library. The Home Library Service can bring books, talking books, DVDs and CDs to your door.

Volunteering: We offer lots of opportunities to get involved in supporting our work. Roles range from homework helpers and gardeners to assisting with research tasks in our local studies library.

Prison library: Nottingham City Libraries has a library inside HMP Nottingham, in partnership with HM Prison Service. It is available to inmates, prison officers and others who work in the prison.

Events programme: All our Libraries offer a varied events programme, which brings people together and tackles isolation. This includes our Games Cafés, Knit & Natter sessions and book groups as well as councillor surgeries and library talks on various topics of local and national interest.

Learning Hub

Early years and school-age offer

Bookstart: Bookstart supports you to enjoy books with your child from as early an age as possible. Bookstart offers the gift of free books to all children as babies and before they start school, to inspire a love of reading, give children a flying start in life and help families enjoy reading together every day.

Children’s Book Award: Pre-school children can vote for their favourite story in the annual Nottingham Children’s Book Award. The award, launched in 2001, encourages young people to develop a love of books and reading.

Totstime: Parents can meet other parents while their toddlers sing, read, play and laugh along with our staff.

School-age support: Working with local schools and educational associations, we strive to help children develop. Schools can visit our libraries for one-off or regular visits.

We encourage reading for pleasure through various programmes and our regular on-site offer includes Homework Help sessions, Code Club, Lego Club, The Summer Reading Challenge and lots more.

School holiday activities: We always have a jam-packed programme on offer during every school holiday, to ensure children are entertained.

Our adult offer 

Computers, printing and WiFi: You can go to any of our libraries to use a computer for free and enjoy free WiFi on your own device. All libraries offer a low-cost printing and photocopying service.

English language support: Our Language Cafes and Conversation groups help people practise and improve their spoken English in an informal and relaxed setting.

Lifelong learning: We regularly run courses (on-site and online) to help people discover new hobbies, improve digital skills, find new strategies to manage health and wellbeing or help get people back into employment.

Economic Enabler

Business & IP Centre Nottingham: The Business & IP Centre supports Nottingham’s entrepreneurs with research tools, expert advice and a programme of events and networking opportunities.

Room hire: We offer spaces to hire for meetings, events and children’s parties.

Work clubs: Get help with job searching, writing your CV and job applications at our weekly sessions.

Improving digital literacy: We regularly run workshops designed to improve people’s basic digital skills and take part in national campaigns such as Internet Safety Week, Get Online Week and more.

Information hub: All our libraries have career and business resources.

*Please note that due to current restrictions, our current offer is restricted and we are not able to facilitate on-site events.


Changes in the way people use the library

The way in which people use our library service has also been steadily changing over the last 5 years. As more of us make use of technology in our day-to-day lives, it’s no surprise we’ve seen fewer people visiting our library buildings and more of you accessing our collections digitally. Digital collection borrowing has been steadily rising for years and lots of our library users love being able to download books and newspapers at the click of a button from the sofa. For many of you, modernisation means keeping up with and embracing these digital developments.

Delivering services in difficult times

On top of these external factors, we need to acknowledge the budget challenges facing us all – making sure we deliver services as efficiently as possible, while continuing to support our communities.

We need to adapt to these changes and, with your help, we can find the best way to do this.

Sign up to our regular email newsletter for updates about The Next Chapter and much more.