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Young people’s library service

Local libraries in the borough have a wide range of books and materials for children of all ages, including:

  • picture books
  • dual language books
  • books to help with school work
  • DVDs and videos suitable for children

There are activities and events for all ages held regularly, including during the school holidays.

Children of all ages are welcome to join a library. If you're aged 15 and under, a parent or guardian's signature is required. Proof of ID and address of guarantors are also required.

Join a library

What you can borrow Toggle accordion

Children and young people under 16 can borrow up to 12 items at a time.

  • books, audio books, CDs and language courses can be borrowed for 3 weeks
  • DVDs can be borrowed for 1 week

Find out how much we charge for hiring CDs, DVDs and language courses.

e-books Toggle accordion

A special collection of e-books for young people is now available for PCs, tablets, laptops and smartphones. Check device is compatible and download the app.

Download the e-book app

Books can be downloaded for 7 or 14 days. Find out what's available in our digital collection for kids.

Digital collection for kids

Online information Toggle accordion

Our library service subscribes to online information services for young people, with online books, dictionaries and encyclopaedias. Many are specially tailored to young people and can be helpful with homework and coursework.

They’re free to use with your Barking and Dagenham library card number from any internet-connected computer or device at home, school, or wherever you access the internet.

Credo - online reference

Credo has access to the DK Eyewitness collection, an illustrated collection of information books on subjects like history, religion and science, ideal to help with coursework.


Encyclopedia Britannica

One of the world’s best-known reference works, Britannica provides information on art, history, geography, science and many other subjects, supplemented by links to magazine articles and websites. It’s also a good source of related illustrations and video content.

Use your library card number to log in.

Britannica Library - junior (aged 5 to 11)


Britannica Library - student (aged 11 to 14)


Britannica Library - adult (14+)


Issues is a reference source made up of articles addressing contemporary social issues, such as rights and discrimination, drugs, crime and the environment. It’s very useful for school and college projects and general interest and there are links to statistics and official and other useful websites. 

Use your library card number to log in to Issues online. 

Issues online

Ziptales - reading for children

Ziptales helps make reading fun for children aged 4 to 12+ years. Its content supports the National Curriculum and suitable for Key Stages 1 and 2 and the International Baccalaureate. 

The Ziptales online library consists of over 550 interactive stories and activities with:

  • voice overs
  • animations
  • quizzes
  • games

Use your library card number to log in to Ziptales.


Computer facilities and internet access Toggle accordion

All our libraries have Google Chromebooks and some Windows computers available for under 16s to use free for up to two hours a day. The computers offer filtered access to the internet and access to Google Docs or Word for you to type up your homework or coursework.

You'll need your library card to use our computers. To get a library card, you must become a member of Barking and Dagenham libraries, and you'll need a parent’s or guardian’s permission to use the service and borrow things from the library. They can give their consent for computer use on the membership form. Proof of ID and the address of guarantors is required.

Join a library

Computer training Toggle accordion

The Computer School provides IT based lessons and tutorials including:

  • computer basics
  • staying safe online
  • technology basics
  • tablets and mobile devices
  • Microsoft
  • Apple
  • Samsung
  • Android
  • Google
  • social media and networking
  • digital photography
  • Photoshop
  • Dreamweaver

and much more.

All content is presented in an easy-to-follow, quick lesson format, with clear, precise, step-by-step instructions. Use your library card number to sign in.

The Computer School

Bookstart Toggle accordion

Bookstart is a national free book-giving scheme designed to encourage a love of books from a very early age. Every child is entitled to a free Bookstart pack at 0 to 12 months and 3 to 4 years containing an age-appropriate book and other supporting materials. This has great benefits for all children, especially when they begin to learn to read at school.


Bookstart Bear Club

Bookstart Bear Club is a club for all babies, toddlers and pre-school children and their parents, running in all Barking and Dagenham libraries. Membership is free and children who join are given a membership pack with their own special passport.

Every time they return a book they’ve borrowed from the library, they get a stamp in their passport. Once they have collected six stamps they are given a certificate. There are ten certificates to collect, all featuring the Bookstart Bear mascot.

Bookstart Bear Club encourages a love of books from an early age and prepares children for learning to read at school. It also encourages them to use the library, as the Bookstart Bear Club is open only to library members.

If your child already uses the library, just ask the staff if they can sign up to the Bookstart Bear Club. If your child is not a library member, they can join the library and the Bookstart Bear Club at the same time.

Bookstart Bear Club

Events and activities Toggle accordion

All libraries in the borough have events for children and young people of all ages, ranging from regular events such as story and rhyme time for pre-school children to homework clubs, film shows and craft activities. There are also events during the school holidays, and reading challenges.

Events and activities

Reading Zone World of Adventure Toggle accordion

The Reading Zone World Adventure is a year-round reading challenge run by our libraries. It encourages children to progress with their reading as they make their way through the 10 levels of the scheme, collecting certificates and prizes along the way.

The challenge is open to all children aged five and over and can follow on from the Bookstart Bear Club. Your library card allows you to borrow up to 12 books at a time, which can include story or information books. For each level you need to read 20 books.

When you return to the library, choose a couple of books that you enjoyed reading and that are appropriate for your age and ability. You will be asked to talk about each book so we know you have read and understood it. Then you will be on your way with level one of The Reading Zone: World Adventure.

At the end of level one, when you have read and answered questions on 20 books, you will receive your first prize and certificate. Any book can only count once towards your total, and you can only answer questions on up to two books on any one day.

During the summer holidays, the Reading Zone World Adventure is suspended while children join the national Summer Reading Challenge.

Summer Reading Challenge Toggle accordion

The Summer Reading Challenge is a national reading scheme which takes place in libraries across the country during the summer holidays. Children are invited to join in the challenge of reading six books during this period. If they finish reading them all they are awarded a medal and a certificate. There are also small prizes along the way.

The benefits of doing the challenge include keeping up children’s reading skills over the holidays and it’s fun as it can tie into other summer holiday activities. Each year there is a different theme for the challenge.

This year the Summer Reading Challenge is called Mischief Makers. We’re taking a trip to Beanotown, where rumour has it there’s a treasure chest full of epic pranks waiting to be discovered…

Summer Reading Challenge