The cost-of-living increases have impacted the way we all live our lives. In our blog today, we’ll be sharing some of the services and resources that are available, both from Warwickshire Libraries and throughout Warwickshire, that can provide support during these times.
Warwickshire Libraries provides a free service for all, offering not only books for different ages and in a range of formats, but free computer use, study space, free Wi-Fi, activities for children, events for adults, and a welcoming environment.
The library is a safe space where you can sit and spend time reading, using a computer, or joining in with our free events. You don’t have to be a member to visit, though membership is free and with your library card, you can borrow books from our libraries and use our computers for free.
Your Warwickshire Libraries’ card also gives you access to our digital library offer, providing access to books and information 24/7.
eBooks and eAudio titles can be downloaded via the BorrowBox app, you’ll find eMagazines and eNewspapers ready and waiting for you to browse and our free eInformation resources include access to Britannica, learning new languages and practising for the driving theory test using Theory Test Pro (find it in the ‘Driving, Travel and Tourism’ section of the eInformation page).
Not yet a member? Read on to find out how to join…….
Becoming a Warwickshire Libraries’ member
Joining Warwickshire Libraries is easy. If you live, work or study in Warwickshire or live in a neighbouring county for more than eight weeks from the date of joining, you can join in person at one of our libraries (bring some ID with you that shows your name and address or photo ID), or join online.
It is free and with a full membership you can:
- use any Warwickshire library
- borrow ten books free of charge
- borrow ten eBooks and eAudiobooks
- read eMagazines and eNewspapers online
- borrow Spoken Word CDs
- use the internet and other computer services including scanning and printing (charges may apply)
- use subscription websites, for free, in the library and at home
- borrow from our foreign language collection
- borrow large print titles and free audio books for people registered blind and partially sighted
- request items from other library services (interlibrary loan – charges apply)
- use other library services for study or reference
We also offer a range of concessionary tickets suitable for people who have a disability or with particular needs such as visual impairments. You can find out more about these here, or speak to a member of staff when you visit one of our county council managed libraries.
All Warwickshire County Council managed libraries provide free Wi-Fi so you can access the Internet on your own laptop, tablet or mobile device, whether you’re a Warwickshire Libraries’ member or not. Connect to WCC Public WiFi when in our buildings and register with your email address and mobile phone number. We will send you a password, via text message. Your registration lasts for one week, after which you can register again. Find out more details here.
Did you know that when you join one Warwickshire Library, you join them all? So, if you borrow a book in Stratford Library, you can return it to Bedworth Library or if you join in Rugby Library, you can use a computer in Leamington Library too.
Explore our eInformation resources
With your Warwickshire Libraries library card, you can access information and resources to keep you and the family entertained, informed and even find help with homework.
You’ll find lots of books and stories for all ages available on BorrowBox. Whether you prefer fiction or non-fiction, need an eAudio book to listen to while you’re out walking the dog or need listening material for that long car journey, our BorrowBox collection is ready and waiting for you to browse.
If you enjoy reading magazines and newspapers, we offer free eMagazines via the Libby app, and eNewspapers via PressReader from the UK and around the world, including The Daily Telegraph, The Guardian, and The Daily Mail. You’ll find a variety of titles in a variety of languages to keep you up to date on all the latest news. Find out more on our eLibrary page.
Our eInformation page lists the many resources you can access if you’re searching for information online. Start on the eInformation page, click on the link of the resource you want to use, for some, log in with your library card, select ‘Warwickshire Libraries’ or type WARKS before your library card number to sign in and your journey can begin.
Here are a selection of resources that we love:
Learn My Way
If you’re looking for free courses to learn digital skills to stay safe and connected, visit the Learn My Way website from the eInformation page. There are courses to introduce you to using a computer, courses to help you learn online basics such as using email and introductions to creating documents, spreadsheets and presentations. Choose ‘Warwickshire Libraries’ as your centre when registering.
Access To Research
Need to access academic research? Access To Research gives access to over 15 million academic articles. It’s free with your library card, although you do need to be using one of our library computers or library Wi-Fi.
Learning a Language?
Search our BorrowBox collection for resources to help you learn a language. You’ll find eAudio titles for beginners, as well as eBooks of short stories in other languages to help you expand your vocabulary.
You’ll also find some other ideas on our eInformation page – from downloading the Duolingo app to to using translate functions available on several of the eInformation resources you can access.
Need some homework help? Whether you’re looking for information on volcanoes, the Romans, animals of all shapes and sizes, or something a bit more local to Warwickshire like William Shakespeare, our libraries and eInformation resources can help.
At the moment, we’re loving Britannica which has lots of information about the Jubilee and of course, a world of other topics too. To access Britannica, visit our eInformation page, find the link in the ‘Quick Reference and Encyclopaedias’ section, click it and sign in with your library card number. You can then search for information on three different levels – junior, student and adult. Perfect for the whole family!
Free events, activities and services from Warwickshire Libraries
Our libraries host free events and activities for adults and for children throughout the year. During half terms, libraries often host children’s craft activities, science workshops, theatre and dance performances and visits from storytellers.
The Summer Reading Challenge is also a popular children’s reading initiative that UK public libraries partner with The Reading Agency to deliver every summer. For Summer 2022, the theme is Gadgeteers – stay tuned for more information closer to the Summer Holidays!
Rhyme Time (0-2 years old) and Story Stomp (2 -4 years old) sessions provide young children with the opportunity to sing and listen to stories in a relaxed and friendly setting. It’s also a chance to meet other parents and share some stories with your little one. All sessions are free to attend (though pre-booking may be required at some sessions. Find your nearest Warwickshire library location here for more information)
There are three Let’s Make facilities in Warwickshire, based in Rugby, Leamington Spa and Nuneaton Libraries. Let’s Make offers technology and craft-based workshops, helping people learn new skills such as coding or how to use a 3D printer.
We also have a Home Library Service and Mobile Library Service in Warwickshire. The Home Library Service work in partnership with a team of volunteers who deliver books in a range of formats including audio material, to people who cannot get to the library due to ill health or disability and do not have someone to collect books for them.
Our mobile libraries make almost 250 stops across Warwickshire. Each mobile library has:
- A selection of books, including large print.
- Spoken word.
- Books for young children.
Each mobile library is accessible with a low entrance of two small steps and a ramp at the rear for wheelchair users.
Find out what’s happening at your local Warwickshire Library by popping in and talking to staff.
Reading can have a positive impact on wellbeing. Whether it’s losing yourself in a story, reading for information or listening to an audiobook, the benefits of reading are many. And borrowing books from your local Warwickshire Library is free so why not make use of our collections?
We have novels of all genres, from escapist fantasy series to cosy crime, romping romances to scary horror titles to read with the lights on. We have non-fiction too and if you don’t know what to pick, staff can help – we love sharing reading recommendations for all ages.
Books to help with the cost of living
Award-winning anti-poverty campaigner Jack Monroe is back with ‘Tin Can Cook’: a delicious collection of seventy-five recipes, all made from store-cupboard ingredients available from corner shops and local supermarkets.
Nutritious and convenient, canned and frozen food can be used for a wide range of value-for money recipes. Phil Vickery has never been one to compromise on flavour, but he always looks for ways to save money and make the process of cooking easier. In ‘The Canny Cook’, he shows you not only how to spend and waste less, but also how to cook fast, fuss-free, good-for-you meals that are bursting with flavour – all from canned and frozen food.
From vegan and vegetarian dishes, to pasta, meat and fish, desserts and healthy snacks, Phil’s creative and inspiring recipes are perfect for anyone looking to feed a family using everyday supermarket ingredients, as well as anyone wanting to contribute to their 5-a-day or to save time in the kitchen.
Trusted bargain-hunter and mum, Holly Smith, cuts thousands of pounds off her shopping and bills every year. She founded the Facebook group Extreme Couponing and Bargains UK (one of the largest Facebook groups in the world) and is on TikTok, Youtube and Instagram helping as many people as possible to save money too.
This book contains all her best hacks and tips to save money and make money – simple, life-changing ideas for everyone. Holly has included her favourite hacks from the Extreme Couponing and Bargains UK community too, who inspired her to write this book. And has asked all her money-saving expert friends to contribute tips too.
This volume starts with facing your finances. This indispensable guide will confront the awkwardness we have with our money for the better.
Packed with practical tools and tips, from how to build a budget, and stick to it. Dealing with your debt, starting the steps to investment, and breaking down money myths and tricky terminology.
Mum works really hard, but today there is no money left and no food in the cupboards. Forced to visit the local foodbank, Mum feels ashamed that they have to rely on the kindness of others, but her young daughter can still see all the good in her day like reading and drawing, and even the foodbank. Maybe one day things will be different but for now together they brighten up even the darkest of days.
Reading Well collections
Warwickshire Libraries have book collections curated by health practitioners working with The Reading Agency that focus on how to cope with mental health issues, as well as collections on topics such as Dementia, Loneliness and Mood-boosting books.
There are five collections, aimed at children, young people and adults. The books from the collections are available in all our libraries and you can find out more about the titles on our Health and Wellbeing page.
Are you interested in establishing a reading group? Join for free at your local library and choose your group’s next read, from multiple copies of more than 200 titles.
Other resources and information to help as the cost of living increases
You’ll find information about Warwickshire resources on the Warwickshire County Council website. Useful pages include:
Warwickshire County Council’s Local Welfare Scheme
There are also a number of national organisations with websites containing useful information, resources and advice:
Citizen’s Advice – this article has information about where to turn if you’re struggling with living costs. You can also find information about Citizen’s Advice support available in North Warwickshire and South Warwickshire online too.
The Good Things Foundation have partnered with community organisations providing free laptop devices for people in financial hardship.
There are also a number of charities and initiatives that may be able to provide support:
Men’s Sheds is a national charity that provides space for men to collaborate on a range of hands-on projects.
It is also important to look after our mental health and wellbeing. Mentioned above are the Reading Well collections but there are many organisations that can provide support, resources and advice.
South Warwickshire NHS Foundation Trust have created a handy link signposting to services in Warwickshire if you are facing financial or mental health issues.
You can find links to Warwickshire-based health and wellbeing organisations on the Warwickshire County Council Mental Health and Wellbeing page.
There are many national mental health and wellbeing organisations, each with websites of information, advice and links to support. The Samaritans are just one to mention, along with Give Us A Shout, The Mental Health Foundation and Mind.
The Coventry and Warwickshire Mind website includes information about local support while The Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) website has a wealth of information and advice on topics ranging from anxiety and depression to living with grief.