The Society of Chief Librarians has announced a new scheme enabling readers to borrow books and other items from any public library in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
More than 4,000 libraries have signed up to the scheme, which becomes operational today (28th September). The new system means that users need only show their existing library card, or proof of address, to join or access any library they are visiting. However any items borrowed must be returned to the library from where they came.
SCL president Fiona Williams said: “We want people to know that all libraries are open to them, not only the libraries where they live. This is an important step towards making libraries more accessible to all.” SCL past president Tony Durcan added: “Now every library is a local library.”
The SCL said it was also considering how a universal library card system would work across the public library network in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, perhaps along the lines of the “BC One” card used in British Colombia.