Libraries have the power to enrich lives and communities. B&NES Library and Information Service is committed to providing the six Universal Offers, Children's Promise and Six Steps, which have been agreed by library services nationally, to deliver an engaging and inclusive 21st century library service to every member of the community, regardless of age or disability. To read more about this commitment, please see the Universal Offers Calendar 2024
Each person who uses our library services has different wants and needs. Please select your particular need below, to find out more about the facilities on offer from your Library Service.
Assistance dogs are welcome in all of our libraries, including the mobile vehicle. For information about access facilities at your local library branch, please consult the list below.
A lift is available next to the library entrance. There are automatic doors at both entrances to the library. A disabled toilet is also available. Please ask staff for a RADAR key.
There is level access and automatic doors, and a lift is available. A Changing Places accessible toilet is available. Please ask staff for access.
There is level access and automatic doors. A disabled toilet is also available. Please ask staff for access.
Our vehicle has an access lift. Please ask the driver for assistance if required. This only works where there is a flat surface.
A limited number of staff are trained to a basic level of BSL. This service may be available at Bath Housing, Welfare and Advice Services depending on staff availability. Customers can alternatively book an interpreter to attend with them.
We are currently in the process of reviewing our hearing loop offer so that it can be improved. Please check current offer with staff at the location.
Microsoft software for visually impaired people is installed on the Public Network computers at all of our libraries (except the mobile). Computer training courses held in libraries are suitable for students with disabilities.
Tactile wall mounted maps are available on each floor at Keynsham Library. Bath Central Library and Keynsham Library have some tactile flooring. Bath Central Library, Midsomer Norton Library and Keynsham Libraries should be able to provide access to a room or area with low lighting which can be accessed by those with light sensitivity issues. Please ask staff for more information.
A large keyboard is available at Bath Central Library.
A large accessible mouse and high contrast keyboard is available at Midsomer Norton Library.
If you cannot get to a library branch
For those who are unable to visit our libraries in person, there are a number of different ways to access our services:
Our libraries network offers a wide range of items for particular learning needs, and in a range of formats, to accommodate accessibility needs. Please select the category which applies to you.
Libraries can be calm and welcoming spaces, but they can also be noisy and busy too. If you are having trouble coping with anything in the library or at Bath Housing, Welfare and Advice Service, please speak to a member of staff who will be able to help you and your family find a quieter space. You can ask about our Sensory Spaces and Sensory Explorer Bags.
We have made helpful guides for our spaces. These should help you to plan your visit and find out what you do at the library or when accessing our information and advice services.
View and download our helpful guides to each location:
Resources you can access at our libraries
You can choose from the following:
- Audiobooks and eAudiobooks
- Large print books
Bag Books: Multi-Sensory Story Packs
These stories consist of a few lines, with every line being accompanied by some form of sensory element such as something to touch, smell, a sound or physical interaction with the story teller.
The stories are designed to be used at home by a parent or carer. Each storyboard also contains a link to a film where you can watch an example of the story being told.
Bag Books can be borrowed from public libraries in Bath and North East Somerset by being a library member and holding a Rainbow Resource Scheme card. The Bag Books are stored centrally but can be reserved and delivered to the most convenient library and you will be contacted when it is ready for collection. We are increasing our stock although do not have every title available.
There are also ideas on the Bag Books website about DIY stories where the story teller can gather items themselves, probably objects that they already have or that can be obtained cheaply.
For more information about Bag Books please see the Bag Books website.
Storysacks: Story books with extra literacy development materials
Story sacks consist of a popular and well known picture book, with every story being accompanied by some form of sensory and educational element, such as puppets, props, songs and rhymes, games and literacy skills activities.
The stories are designed to be used at home by a parent / carer / childminder. Each Story sack can be used one-to-one, or with a small group, for interactive learning and storytelling.
Story sacks can be borrowed from public libraries in Bath and North East Somerset if you are a library member, registered as an Early Years Setting or Childminder, and / or holding a Rainbow Resource Scheme card. We hold the Story sacks at our core libraries in Bath, Keynsham and Midsomer Norton, but you can reserve them and have them delivered to the most convenient branch, and we will contact you when your items are ready for collection.
For more information about Story sacks, please see this page from the National Literacy Trust.
BookTrust additional needs packs
BookTrust is the UK's largest reading charity. As well as Bookstart Baby, Toddler and Pre-schooler packs, BookTrust also offers the following packs for children with additional needs:
- Bookstart Shine for children who are deaf
- Bookstart Touch for children with a visual impairment
- Bookstart Star for children with conditions affecting their fine motor skills
All the packs are free to parents and carers of children aged 0-5 years. We have a limited number of packs available at our libraries for families to have and you can ask staff for more information.
As the local BookStart Coordinator, we also provide packs to other local organisations such as Childrens Centres to gift to families.
Sensory Spaces at Bath Central, Keynsham, and Midsomer Norton Libraries
- sensory lighting and toys
- a giant beanbag
- a comfy rug and cushion area
- a blackout tent
Each room has an accessible guide with photographs and descriptions of what you will find inside. You can view or download this in advance, or there will be a copy available in the room.
The spaces are open to all to use but we particularly welcome families and small groups of children and young adults with sensory needs. Children will need adult supervision, so please book the room for all adults and children.
You can book these spaces on Eventbrite.
Sensory Explorer Bags at Bath Central, Bath Housing, Welfare and Advice Services, Keynsham, and Midsomer Norton Libraries and the Mobile Library
We have borrowable Sensory Explorer bags for use at Bath Housing, Welfare and Advice Services, Bath Central, Keynsham, and Midsomer Norton Libraries and on the Mobile Library.
The bags are free to use in our spaces, and all contain:
- a guide to the library
- sensory/fidget toy(s)
- ear defenders
Borrow a bag from the main desk and return after use. Use the guide to familiarise yourself and child or young person with the space and explore using the fidget aids and ear defenders to improve the visit.
Most items are also free to customers with a disability. See Loan periods and charges for more information.
We can offer materials which are suitable for your native language, or literacy and numeracy learning needs:
- Basic skills materials (for example, IT, CV writing, maths)
- Books in Community Languages and language courses (including English as a second or foreign language)
- Quick Reads: a national scheme to produce condensed and simplified versions of popular novels, designed to improve literacy and make fiction more accessible
There is a wide range of self-help material available. In addition, we provide the following items:
- Reading Well Books on Prescription: a national scheme to help you manage your health and wellbeing through self-help reading. Topics include anxiety and depression, eating disorders, phobias, panic attacks and sleep problems
- Reminiscence Packs and materials to support people with dementia