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The Reading Group Service

Reading Group Home | Books Home

In response to the Coronavirus outbreak Bedford Borough and Central Bedfordshire Libraries have closed all libraries.
Find out more about the libraries' response to the situation here

Bedford Borough and Central Bedfordshire support local reading groups. Details of the service are listed below.

We will provide:

  • A Reading Group membership card which is the responsibility of the Reading Group Co-Ordinator
  • A collection of titles that you can reserve for free via the Virtual Library
  • Up to 10 copies of a title to be borrowed on the card, plus spoken word and large print copies of the title as required and if available
  • The books will be issued for an extended 6 week loan period
  • A maximum of 2 titles on loan or reserved at one time
  • A maximum of one reserved collection waiting to be issued in the library; unless you are a new group in which case you can reserve two titles
  • If you have two titles on loan in which case you cannot reserve any additional titles
  • The chance to suggest titles to be added to the collection.


In return we ask you to:

  • Nominate one member of your group as the Reading Group Co-Ordinator, they will be the library service contact and the signatory for the card with responsibility to:
    • Issue the collection
    • Return the collection
    • Report any losses or damages
    • Pay overdues and other charges on behalf of the group
  • Provide a valid e-mail address and/ or telephone number for us to contact you
  • Reserve titles from the list of collections shown as available on the Virtual Library
  • Issue the whole collection to your Reading Group card.
  • Return the whole collection to the library on time
  • Concessionary overdue charges will apply to any books returned late
  • Inform the library staff if a book from the collection has been lost or cannot be returned for any reason. You will be asked to pay for any lost books.

Please note that if a Reading Group card is not used for 6 months it will be cancelled. Any outstanding loans or charges will be the responsibility of the named contact on the card.

How do I reserve books for our group?

  • Log in using your Reading Group Card Number and PIN
  • Click the ‘Go’ button
  • An active list of all the collection titles available for reservation will be displayed
  • Indicate how many copies of the book you want next to the title you want
  • Click ‘Reserve’ at the bottom of the page
  • The collection will be removed from the list so another group cannot request it
  • The confirmation page will load – stating the number of copies you have reserved. The same text will be e-mailed to you as well
  • The Reading Group Collection Co-ordinator will check that you are entitled to borrow the title then either;
    e-mail you when the set of books are sent to your chosen collection library and inform you of the collect by date. They will be on the reservation shelf ready for you to issue.
    e-mail you if you are not able to borrow the set of books as you already have your allotted number of titles on loan or reserved.

What happens when the books are ready for collection?

You will be sent an e-mail when the books are ready for collection at your chosen library. Please visit the library to collect the books from the reservation shelf and issue them all to your Reading Group Card. You can then distribute the books to your members or place them back on the reservation shelf and inform your members that they are ready to be picked up.

A member of my group requires large print/spoken word – what should I do?

We would advise that you check Arena, the online library catalogue, to see if alternative formats of the collection title you would like to request are showing as “available for loan” as it is possible there may not be alternative formats in stock.
When you know there are copies in large print or spoken word available please request the books from the collection.
Once you have received confirmation from the Reading Group Collection Co-ordinator that the requested collection will be sent, please contact your local library to request the additional copies you require in large print or spoken word. They will then search the catalogue and request these for you. You will be informed when these are ready for collection, please visit the library and issue them to the Reading Group card.

How do we return the books?

We would ask that the books are all returned in one go, ideally by you after your meeting. However, we understand that this may not always be possible. Be aware that you will not be able to reserve any more titles if you have two different titles on loan, even if there is just one copy left of one title.
Please let a member of library staff know if a copy has been lost or due to unforeseen circumstances is unlikely to be returned soon. If a book is lost you will be expected to pay a replacement charge for the book.

If I have a question who should I contact?

You can contact the Reading Group Collection Co-ordinator at Alternatively you can contact your local library; in most cases they will then contact the Reading Group Collection Co-ordinator.

Page last updated: 31st March 2020