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Young people’s library service

National Shelf Service 
A YouTube broadcast running Monday to Friday at 11am each day, helping children and families discover new, diverse reading experiences with books recommended by librarians.

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 and course work
  • e-books, comics, graphic novels and online information

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 and comics Toggle accordion

A special collection of e-books for young people is now available for PCs, tablets, laptops and smartphones.

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. You will need your library card and PIN to login.

If you join online while libraries are closed you can login with the temporary number supplied.

Digital collection for kids

Digital collection for teens

Digital comics

Digital magazines for kids


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.


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 computer or device at home, school, or wherever you access the internet.

Encyclopedia Britannica

One of the world’s best-known information sources, 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. There are some interactive games and puzzles too

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 an information resource made up of articles addressing contemporary social issues, such as rights and discrimination, drugs, crime and the environment. All PSHE subjects are included, 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 and internet access Toggle accordion

All our libraries have Windows computers available for library members under 16 to use free for up to two hours a day. The computers offer filtered access to the internet and access to Word and Excel. All the libraries have free wi-fi too.

You will need to have your library card with you to use the 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 Beez Toggle accordion

Have you heard about our new reading scheme Reading Beez? This is a fun opportunity to improve your reading skills and collect prizes along the way. You will also learn about endangered animals and how you can help save them by taking part in fun activities.

There are 5 levels to complete altogether, you can complete each level by reading 20 library books. You will also have the opportunity of being invited to special award ceremonies that celebrate reading.

If you want to take part, please ask at your nearest library to sign up for the challenge.

Theme of the scheme is Environment and Endangered species. There will be 5 zones: 20 books to be read in each zone. Zones to be based on Environment.

  1. Countryside: Hedgehog
  2. Arctic:  Polar Bear
  3. Jungle: Tiger
  4. Sea: Narwhal
  5. Desert: Kit Fox
 Barking Learning CentreDagenham LibraryMarks Gate LibraryThames View LibraryValance LibraryChadwell Heath Community Centre
Monday3.30pm to 5pmNo session3.30pm to 4.30pm3.30pm to 4.30pm3pm to 5pm3.30pm to 4.30pm
Tuesday3.30pm to 5pm4pm to 6pm3.30pm to 4.30pm3.30pm to 4.30pm3pm to 5pm3.30pm to 4.30pm
Wednesday3.30pm to 5pm4pm to 6pmNo session3.30pm to 4.30pm3pm to 5pm3.30pm to 4.30pm
Thursday3.30pm to 5pm4pm to 6pm3.30pm to 4.30pmNo session3pm to 5pm3.30pm to 4.30pm
FridayNo sessionNo session3.30pm to 4.30pm3.30pm to 4.30pmNo sessionNo session
Saturday2pm to 4pm2pm to 4pmNo session11.30am to 2.30pm10am to 4pm12pm to 3pm
Sunday1pm to 3pmNo sessionNo sessionNo sessionNo sessionNo session

During the summer holidays, the reading Beez scheme is suspended while children join the national Summer Reading Challenge.

Summer Reading Challenge Toggle accordion

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 years theme is “Silly Squad” a celebration of funny books, happiness and laughter. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic this years challenge will run online, click on the button below to access the challenge. On the challenge site children can rate and review their books and work towards their reading goal. It also features video content, games, quizzes, digital and downloadable activities to take part in the challenge at home.

You can also find e-books and comics suitable for children using the links on this page

Summer Reading Challenge

School leavers digital guide Toggle accordion

Barking & Dagenham College have launched their new School Leavers digital guide.

The college offers hundreds of courses across many Levels including HNC/HND, BTEC, T Levels, Foundation, Apprenticeships and Traineeships and are guaranteeing all 16-18-year-old students a place to study this September 2021.

With an emphasis on vocational skills, entrepreneurship and T shaped skills, they deliver high-quality training through industry and business standard learning environments with embedded connections to local and national employers and Universities and throughout your studying time, you'll be surrounded by award-winning support that's been described by the Government's inspectors (Ofsted) as 'Outstanding'.

School Leavers digital guide - Barking & Dagenham College