Our stock policy determines how we buy and manage our collection of books and information. You can read the full version of our stock policy, but a few key points are also given below:

Where do you buy your books from?

For print books we are part of a trans-regional consortium of 36 library authorities, which has a contract with one supplier to achieve the highest possible discounts. The consortium tender is renewed every 5 years, ensuring that we continually get best value and service. Our current supplier for adult books is Askews and Holts Library Services, and for children’s and teenage books is Peters Ltd.
Our e-book and e-audio supplier is Overdrive, with whom we have a one-to-one contract. Our e-library widens access because it is available 24 hours a day. Our e-library is one of our growing libraries, so we aim to make as many titles available as we possibly can, with the money we have available to us.

How do you choose what to buy?

We work with our suppliers to provide new items of stock. We use intelligence from the types of items you have borrowed in the past, information about the size and opening times of our libraries and from this we develop a series of profiles that the library suppliers use when selecting books on our behalf. In its simplest form, this means that the more popular titles are bought for our smaller libraries, with more specialist titles found at our larger libraries.

Our suppliers rate every title in advance of publication, and we use this scale to inform how popular a title will be with our customers. As a guide we generally don’t purchase adult non-fiction items with a rating of less than 3 (out of 5) stars and adult fiction items lower than B (on an A to D scale).

Our role is to offer impartial and unbiased access to knowledge. We do not censor any materials, so you may find profanities, violence, scenes of a sexual nature and controversial views in some of our books. For further information about this, please refer to the full stock policy.

For what reason might you choose not to buy a book I’ve recommended or requested?

We consider every title that is requested by our customers if we do not already have it in stock, but we have a limited budget, and it is not possible for us to buy every title you request. If we decide not to buy a book, we will let you know the reason.

We use the same criteria we set for our suppliers to decide whether to buy a particular title. We won’t buy anything that we consider too expensive (we set a bar of around £30 on a hardback non-fiction book) or that we think would only be used by one person (to support their learning for example). We avoid items that contain loose-leaf pages or where there are lots of multiple choice questions to tick (e.g. personality assessment workbooks) We do not purchase anything that is over about 5 years old, unless it is considered to be a classic text or a book that continues to be popular over a period of time.

Do you have copies of newspapers and magazines in your libraries?

To enable us to make the best use of our budget we have decided to subscribe to PressReader which gives us access to 7000 digital newspapers and magazines. The service is free on your mobile device or computer when you log on using your library card. This means that you have access to newspapers and magazines outside library opening hours as well as in the library using our wi-fi

We do make a selection of hard copy newspapers and magazines available in our Reading Cafes.

How much money do you spend on books?

Our total stock budget is £190,000. This covers all of our hard copy books, audio and large print books, our e-library, our online reference materials, and PressReader

Do you accept donated books?

We do accept donated books, but only if they are in perfect condition. We particularly welcome popular fiction and non-fiction which is in high demand. We are unable to accept collections of specialist older non-fiction.
You can find more information on our donations page