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Lambeth Libraries

Join Lambeth Libraries for free and use our services

You can use any of the nine local libraries to borrow books, e-books, DVDs, talking books and language courses. We also have online resources and services for you to use and there is plenty to do in Lambeth libraries.

You can also use our libraries for study, joining a homework club, joining a book group or listening to stories and talks by authors.

Additionally, Lambeth Archives the borough's record office and local history library, is open to the public and free to use.

The Upper Norwood Joint Library is an independent library service, funded by Croydon and Lambeth Councils, but is not part of either borough's library services and is situated just inside the Lambeth border with Croydon.

For more information on Lambeth Libraries including opening times and locations go to www.lambeth.gov.uk/libraries

Libraries SEND Offer

Book Packs for young children

Booktouch packs for children who are blind or partially sighted

Booktouch packs are provided free to parents or carers of blind or partially sighted children up to (and including) the age of five. Children are entitled to this pack in addition to the two standard Bookstart packs. Packs contain:

  • Two touch and feel books
  • A Booktouch booklet of advice about sharing books with blind and partially sighted children
  • A Booktouch book guide listing lots more great books
  • A leaflet listing useful services related to reading
  • A Bookstart Rhymetimes CD and booklet.

Bookshine packs for children who are deaf

Bookshine packs are provided free to parents or carers of deaf children up to (and including) the age of five. Children are entitled to this pack in addition to the two standard Bookstart packs. Packs contain:

  • Two board books
  • A Bookshine booklet of advice about sharing books with deaf children
  • A Bookshine book guide listing lots more great books, as well as useful organisations and resources
  • A nursery rhyme place mat featuring two rhymes and photographs of babies signing

Bookstart Star packs for children with disabilities that impact fine motor skills

The Bookstart Star pack is aimed at children aged 3–5 who have disabilities that impact on or delay the development of their fine motor skills and includes books and resources to help families enjoy reading together every day. Children are entitled to this pack in addition to the two standard Bookstart packs. Packs contain:

  • Off to the Park! – an exclusive book from Child's Play publishers, which includes an array of tactile features such as a big red squashy ball, a glittering path and even an ice cream scented page.
  • Mouse Is Small – a board book from Mary Murphy and children's publisher Walker.
  • Animal finger puppets for playing along with the story.
  • Resources to help parents and carers enjoy reading with their children.

Bag Books

Lambeth Libraries hold a collection of Bag Books, which are interactive multi-sensory stories for children, teenagers and adults with severe to profound and multiple learning disabilities.

Each collection comes in its own sturdy box with a handle. The short stories are produced on A3 card and include a range of props: for example.

Kofi and the Magic Shaker – A set of A3 story boards: A traditional African story. Kofi is sitting under a coconut tree trying to keep cool, when he is approached by a strange looking spider who offers a magical solution to the heat.

Props- Africa map shape and padded fleece cushion / kente shirtfront / sandal and sand paper / foil circle and cricket sound / coconut / spider / eyes and rubber smile / latex ball / xylophone / pom pom / African shaker and music CD / three hanging birds / palm leaf fan / balloon pump.

For further information about Bag Books and how to loan, please contact Sandra Davidson: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or telephone 020 7926 1104

Other Children’s resources

Big Storytelling Collection Books

Collections of big format storytelling books are available. They have a larger font size and pictures to support children with visual impairment or can be used in larger group settings. They have a range of stories suitable for 2 to 6 year olds.

Dyslexia Friendly Books

Books are stocked to meet all reading levels and ability ages however specific books from publishers such as Barrington Stokes are in stock to support children who have difficulty in reading from mainstream titles. Stories are pitched at the child’s real age rather than their reading age.

Summer Reading Challenge

This is an annual themed summer reading challenge for children between the ages of 4 to 12 years old. The aim is to read up to six books, collecting prizes along the way during the summer holidays. With support from staff super sized materials are provided for children who are visually impaired or for children with learning disabilities or dyslexia.

For further information, please contact Sandra Davidson This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or telephone 020 7926 1104

Libraries – disability access

All Lambeth Libraries are wheelchair accessible and disabled toilet facilities are available in all except for Waterloo Library.

Induction loops are available at the following libraries: Clapham, Brixton and Streatham

Specialist equipment at Clapham Library

  • Changing Places toilet
  • Changing Places bench
  • Powered ceiling track hoist
  • Peninsular toilet
  • Height adjustable basin
  • Wet room
  • Three disabled toilets

Books in other formats

As well as regular paperback and hardback books, Lambeth libraries have stories and information in multiple formats. Whether you want your books with large print or in audio, as e-books or in languages other than English, we’ll do our best to find exactly what you want.

Nursery rhymes and story audio books are particularly beneficial to children with special educational needs allowing less able readers to listen to stories enjoyed by their peers.

Braille

Tate South Lambeth Library holds Lambeth Libraries' collection of braille books for children.  This is a small collection with a mixture of very simple grade 1 braille books and more complicated grade 2 braille books.  There is also a Perkins Brailler Machine at Tate South Lambeth which can be used for practice.

Reading and computer help for those with low vision and/or dyslexia.

Lambeth Libraries offer an extensive range of equipment and programmes to help all library users, including children and young adults, to use library resources. This includes help with reading books and other printed documents, using computers and the internet. All this equipment is on public display and can be used in the library at any time. All machines are extremely easy to use and library staff will be happy to assist.

Eye Pal Solo

The Eye Pal Solo reads text aloud and can be used to read any book or printed text. You can use it for any book or printed material in the library and you can also bring in your own books, letters or other documents and the machine will read them aloud to you. Available at Tate South Lambeth, Clapham and Streatham Tate Libraries

Cobolt TV Mouse Magnifier

The TV mouse magnifier is an easy-to-use device like a computer mouse, which connects directly to any TV screen. You roll the mouse over any text or image and it will be magnified onto the screen. You can alter the level of magnification to suit your requirements. Available at Tate South Lambeth and Streatham Tate Libraries

Computers and internet access

Lambeth Libraries provide free computer and internet access as well as free wifi. The following are available in all Lambeth Libraries and support a wide range of needs:

  • Keyboards - all Lambeth library public computers have large print keyboards which are easy for everyone to see and use. The keyboards which are specially designed to give one touch quick key access to the magnification, speech and colour controls in Supernova.
  • Special magnification and speech programmes (Dolphin Supernova, Thunder and Webbie) which will magnify the computer screen and read text aloud from documents or websites. Supernova also offers a wide range of colours and contrasts to make the screen easier to see.
  • Supernova - a commercial programme which offers magnification and speech
  • Thunder - a free-to-download programme which offers speech only
  • Webbie - a free-to-download text-only web browser/search engine which works with Thunder. Webbie displays websites as text-only so that Thunder can read them aloud. Webbie also has built-in magnification so you can toggle between text-only and normal web page views.

DTvip Group

On Tuesday mornings Tate South Lambeth Library is open for DTvip. This is a Digital Tuesday session designed specifically for VIPs (visually impaired people).

How do you use the free computers, books and other standard printed information in public libraries if you have a visual impairment or dyslexia?

DTvip aims to make it easier for people with visual or print impairment to use the library computers to access the internet and try out the software and hardware above. The library is only open to those with visual impairment on these mornings and there is help available so you can try out everything available.

Every Tuesday morning from 10am to 12 noon, at Tate South Lambeth, 180 South Lambeth Road, London SW8 1QP, halfway between Vauxhall and Stockwell tube stations. For more information Tel: 0207 926 0705.

A similar session has recently started at Streatham Library on Wednesdays 10am-12 noon during the library main opening hours.

Social group for over 18s with autism: First Thursday Book Group (for over 18s).

A reading group for intellectually capable adults with autism or related conditions which meets on the first Thursday of each month at Clapham Library, Mary Seacole Centre, 91 Clapham High Street, London, SW4 7DB. No formal diagnosis is necessary and you do not need to live in Lambeth but we do ask that you join Lambeth Libraries. You will need to provide proof of address for this. For more information please contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or contact Andrew O Brien at Clapham Library on 020 7926 0717

Living paintings

Lambeth Libraries is a member of the Living Paintings library. We can help you with information on how to join this fantastic scheme to bring paintings to life for those who are blind or visually impaired through touch to see books.

Simple painted tactile pictures are accompanied by audio guides that introduce children to their Touch to See library including feeling tactile pictures and responding to audio description.

Useful Guidance Notes assist parents and teachers with additional information, suggestions for further reading and activities.

If you would like to know more about any of the above, please contact Abibat Olulode This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it 020 7926 1103

Other Library services

Basic Skills

All Lambeth libraries have a collection of basic skills materials for those with low literacy levels or learning disabilities such as dyslexia. We have collections of titles that are written specifically for this audience by top authors. They have simple sentence structures and short chapters without compromising on the content and story. If you would like to know more about any of the above, please contact Abibat Olulode This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it 020 7926 1103

Home Visit Service

Lambeth Libraries Home visit service is a delivery service for Lambeth residents who cannot get to their local library and have no one to go for them. We bring the library to your home. We provide a wide range of books and other material from the whole of the library service including community languages, audio-visual material and a wide range of information. A book request service is available. For more information visit www.lambeth.gov.uk/libraries

Reading groups

Libraries have many types of reading groups for all ages, but one of the best is the Book at Breakfast group run in most Lambeth Libraries (18 year olds upwards). You don’t have to read anything in advance as everything is read aloud to you each week. You can simply drop in, sit down and enjoy listening to a good story or poem - there’s no pressure to talk, to read, or even to drink tea! (Although it’s always available) Book at Breakfast gives everyone a place to relax, a chance to make new friends and a new way to share reading. Full details of meeting times are available at your local Lambeth library.