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Digital facilities and resources

Your library membership gives you access to a wide range of digital facilities and resources, from free computer and internet access, to online books, audiobooks and magazines. Support and advice to help you to improve your digital skills is also available at a number of library branches.

Working online at the library

The library is a great place to work online. We provide desktop computers with a range of commonly used software and facilities, and access to wifi for you to use on your own laptop, tablet or smart phone. 

Use a library computer

People's Network PCs are available for members and visitors to use free of charge at all council-run library branches across Bath and North East Somerset. If you are visiting the area, please ask for a visitor's card, to enable you to access the internet.

Facilities available on library computers

Library computers offer the following facilities:

Terms and conditions for library computers

When using library computers, please note the following restrictions:

  • You will need to have your membership number and PIN (or get a visitor's card from a member of staff) to use the computers and internet
  • If you book a session ahead of time, you can use a computer for up to two hours per day. You can book via the self-serve computers in main libraries, or by calling us on 01225 39 40 41.
  • You can use a computer without booking, but visitors and quick access users have a daily limit of 30 minutes' computer use
  • All computers in our libraries automatically shut down ten minutes before library closing time. We are unable to make any exceptions, so please give yourself five minutes to allow time for finishing off documents, doing your printing and logging off
  • We restrict access to certain sites because of their content, and children using computers will not be able to visit many sites with age inappropriate content. 
  • You can access your email accounts as normal from all People's Network computers. You may need to set up a web based email account.
  • You can use the computers in any LibrariesWest authority library with your existing membership card. Please note that individual Local Authority user policies will apply.

For more information, please see the Library Computers Acceptable Use Policy

Bring your own equipment

All council run libraries have free wifi (except the mobile library). You can use your laptop, tablet or smartphone in our desked areas, and there are special power sockets within the Bath Central Library quiet study area, Keynsham Library and Midsomer Norton Library You must not use any other power sockets for powering or charging your devices. You may see exhibitors in the Bath Library exhibition space with their own equipment plugged in; this must be booked, and is by prior agreement of the Library Managers.

Digital skills help

There are Volunteer IT Guides at Bath Central Library who can support you with all kinds of digital challenges, for example, scanning a document, setting up an email account, downloading our e-books or accessing government or health information. Please note that the volunteers are only available to provide support with IT; they cannot advise on the content of any forms or how to fill them out.

There is usually a Volunteer IT Guide available Monday to Friday from around 11.00am to 5.00pm in Bath Central Library. If a volunteer is not available at the time of your visit, we will make you an appointment for the next available time slot.

To book an appointment with an IT Guide in advance, please email or call us on 01225 39 40 41 with a time and date that suits you. Or you can make an appointment in person at into Bath Central Library

Some libraries also run regular digital skills sessions. Please see the page for your local branch to find out what is available near you.

Electronic books, audiobooks and magazines

Bath & North East Somerset library members can download any of the e-Books, e-Audiobooks and e-Magazines held by LibrariesWest free of charge.

e-Book service: Cloud Library

You can access our new Cloud Library e-Book service free of charge, by visiting the Cloud Library website or by downloading the free Cloud Library app (for iOS, Android and Kindle Fire). To log on, please enter your library card number and PIN. 

Find e-Books 

e-Audiobook service: BorrowBox

You can access our new BorrowBox e-Audiobook service free of charge direct from the BorrowBox website or by downloading the free BorrowBox app (for iOS, Android and Kindle Fire). To log on, please enter your library card number and PIN. 

Find e-Audiobooks 

e-Magazines: RB Digital Magazines

All library members across LibrariesWest can now access a free e-Magazine service using their computer, tablet or smartphone.

The titles are unabridged, interactive and in full colour, and include some one-off publications, as well as subscription titles. All new subscription titles come with 12 months of back issues pre-loaded.

To access this free service, you will need to create an account on the RB Digital Magazines website and then log in to download magazines. You can also download the free RB Digital app (for iOS, Android and Kindle Fire).

Find e-Magazines 

More details are available on the e-resources pages of the LibrariesWest website.

e-Comics: RB Digital Comics

All library members across LibrariesWest can now access a free e-Comic service using their computer, tablet or smartphone.

The titles are unabridged, interactive and in full colour, one-off publications, as well as subscription titles. Library members can access an unlimited number of titles, suitable for all age ranges.

To access this free service, you will need to create an account on the RB Digital Comics website and then log in to download comics. You can also download the free RB Digital app (for iOS, Android and Kindle Fire).

Find e-Comics

Please be aware that some of our e-Comics may contain storylines and images that include violence, offensive language and sexual content. We do not censor any material or restrict access by age to the e-Comics in this collection. Customers are encouraged to use the filter tools around audience and rating to find appropriate content. Parents and carers should satisfy themselves that the titles are suitable for their child. Further information about helping children and young people stay safe online is available from Get Safe Online, which is a government-backed organisation providing free expert advice.

Online media and reference material

You can access a number of online library services and special sites free of charge from home, 24 hours a day, as well as in our libraries. Some of these sites are specific to library members, and you will need to enter your library membership number to access them.

Dictionaries, biographies and other reference resources
  • Dictionary of National Biography 

    This famous dictionary gives authoritative biographies of around 50,000 British people

  • Ancestry 

    Available at Bath Central Library, Keynsham and Midsomer Norton Libraries, research your family tree, access historic military records and past records from across the world

  • Oxford English Dictionary 

    Find out where words came from, as well as their meaning

  • Oxford Music Online 

    Formerly Grove Music, this resource is a wealth of information on all types of music

  • Oxford Art Online 

    Formerly Grove Art, this product has now expanded its image collection. It also contains in-depth articles on art, artists and art movements

  • Oxford Reference Online

    This product allows you to access some of the best reference books available online from Oxford University Press

  • Who’s Who and Who Was Who 

    This comprehensive resource provides short biographies of the all the movers and shakers in the UK

Online newspapers and journals
  • Download digital newspapers from Libraries West

    Access the full text of 1000+ daily, weekly and monthly newspapers from over 100 countries (and in 60 languages), including 166 local, regional and national UK titles through your library membership

  • Local papers "SomersetLive"... 

    News from Bath, Keynsham, Midsomer Norton and surrounding areas

  • Times Digital Archive 1785-2012 

    Find any news story, obituary, birth notice and more from the Times Newspaper. This fascinating database is fully searchable 

  • Directory of Open Access Journals 

    A directory of over 3,000 quality controlled, full text, scientific and scholarly journals covering a wide range of subjects and languages

  • Access to Research

    Free online access to over 1.5million published academic articles from the Access to Research desktop shortcut on our library computers. You can browse for articles from home, but please note you will only be able to view the journal text from a library computer

Online library catalogues
  • LibrariesWest Catalogue 

    Search for and reserve items, renew your loans and update your details (joint catalogue for Bath & North East Somerset, Bristol, North Somerset, Somerset, South Gloucestershire, Dorset and Poole public libraries)

  • COPAC 

    Merged online catalogue of the British Library, 24 major university research libraries in the UK and Ireland and the National Libraries of Scotland and Wales

  • Fantastic Fiction 

    Comprehensive lists of fiction authors

  • RNIB Library 

    Catalogue of resources in formats accessible to those with a visual impairment

  • Whichbook 

    Choose a book online to suit your mood!

Local newspapers