Bolton Library and Museum Services

Libraries FAQ


Joining and Borrowing

How do I join the library?

You can join the library by filling out a quick form and showing a proof of identity which includes your address such as a driving licence or utility bill. Membership is free. Children can join from birth.

How many books can I borrow?

You can borrow 10 books at any one time. The standard loan period for books is 3 weeks.

How many DVDs can I borrow?

You can borrow 6 DVDs at any one time. New release DVDs can be borrowed for 2 days and older DVDs for 1 week.

Can I return a book I borrowed from Central Library to a Community Library?

Yes you can return your books to any Bolton Library regardless of where they were borrowed from.

I am a member of the Central Library. Can I use other Bolton Libraries?

You are welcome to use any of our 10 community libraries and 5 neighbourhood collections with your library membership. You will also be able to access our online resources.

Do you have books for visually impaired customers?

We have a collection of large print and talking books on tape and CD at all of our libraries. There is a small charge for the hire of talking books depending on your circumstances. See Library Charges for details.

Are you open on Sundays and Bank Holidays?

The Central Library and Museum, Harwood and High Street Libraries are open from 10am to 4pm on Sundays (apart from Easter Sunday). The Central Library and Museum is open from 10am to 4pm on Bank Holidays (apart from Good Friday, Christmas and New Year). Check the Plan Your Visit page for further information on opening hours.

Do you have an eBooks and eAudiobooks download service?

We offer an eBook and eAudiobook download service completely free of charge. See our eLibrary page for more details.

Do you have an eMagazine download service?

We offer a free magazine download service via RBDigital (previously Zinio). You can download full digital copies of your favourite magazine to your computer, smartphone or tablet. For more information visit the eLibrary page.


Renewing and Reserving

I haven’t finished my book can I keep it for longer?

You can renew your books by accessing your library account online or within library opening hours by ringing 01204 333173.

I’ve tried to renew my books online but it doesn’t seem to be working.

There are a number of reasons why the system may not allow you to renew your books this time: • The online system allows 2 unseen renewals only. You will need to bring the items in to a library to have them renewed again. • The item may have been reserved by another customer. • Your membership may be about to expire. Contact your nearest library to speak to a member of staff.

I’ve collected a book I reserved but can only borrow it for two weeks. Can you explain why?

Some titles are very popular and to minimise the waiting time for each customer we allow a 2 week loan period. The standard loan period is  3 weeks.

You don’t have a book I need in stock. Will you buy it for the library?

Once logged into your online library account you can apply for a non stock item using the online form. Our staff will decide whether we can purchase the book for our stock or may advise you to apply through the Inter Library Loan system.

What happens if you can’t buy a book I need?

We can apply to borrow a book from another UK library. This costs you £5 per item. You can apply for an Inter Library Loan using the online form.

I am an author/publisher and I’d like to know if you would be interested in buying my book for your stock.

You can e-mail the details of your publication to Our staff will consider the title and decide whether or not to purchase it for our stock.


Online Access

Can I access my library account online?

You can access your library account via the online library catalogue.

I need help using your online information resources – who can help me?

Speak to a member of staff at your nearest library or contact the Ask Bolton Libraries enquiry service.  Phone 01204 332853 or email

I’d like to learn how to use a computer. Can anyone at the library help me?

We have volunteers who deliver computer mentoring at most of our libraries. Visit our Adult Learning page for more information.


Get involved

Can I donate books to the library?

We don’t accept donations unless they relate to the Bolton area, when they may be added to the stock in the Local Studies collection.

How do I find out about events in libraries?

Visit the What's On section of our website for events in libraries and for events across the borough visit the Bolton Council Local Directory.

I’d like to volunteer at the library. How can I find out more?

Visit our Volunteers page for more information.