Library membership

The easiest and quickest way to join is online.

Library service membership is free to anyone who lives, works or studies in East Sussex. To join our libraries you can:

Visit an East Sussex Library

  • please take proof of your name and address with you

Join online

  • You will receive an online membership number that will allow you access to our online services
  • To loan items and use our public computers, you will need to visit any East Sussex Library to exchange your online membership number for a library card free of charge. Please take proof of your name and address to do so
  • If you are unable to collect your library card due to disability or frailty, or because you are caring for someone who cannot be left, please inform us via our online enquiries form

There is no minimum age for joining, but those under the age of 16 need an adult aged over 18 with them in person to agree to be responsible for the items the under 16 borrows and for any charges. A parent or guardian is best.

With any library membership you can:

*Please be aware that the ComicsPlus website can only be accessed with a library card.

With your library card you can:

There are a wide range of library memberships to support different needs and circumstances

Your personal data

Information on how we will process your personal data to provide you access to the library resources can be found in our privacy notice.

Full membership

You can be a full library member if you live, work or study in East Sussex.

You will need to show proof of your name and address with a document such as a utility bill or driving licence.

Full members can borrow the maximum number of items:

  • Up to 20 books
  • 6 CDs 
  • 6 audio books
  • 6 DVDs

Loan periods

  • Books                               3 weeks 
  • Spoken word CDs        3 weeks  (fee applies)
  • CDs                                    1 week     (fee applies)
  • DVDs                                 1 week     (fee applies)
  • 20 music scores for 3 months (fee applies)
  • 20 play sets for 6 weeks (fee applies)
  • 2 language courses for 6 weeks
  • 2 CD-ROMs
  • 4 toys and games
  • 1 home electricity monitor for 3 weeks

Full members can use the free library computers.

We will send you an email reminder one day before your loans become overdue - or send a reminder by post after 28 days.

Standard membership

You will be asked to provide proof of name, such as a bank card, to join the library as a standard member.

A standard member can borrow up to 4 items.  If you are over 16, one of these items can be an audiobook, DVD or CD.

Standard members can use the free library computers.

Children’s library cards

If you are under 16, and would like to join the library, you will need an adult (a person aged over 18) to provide proof of your address.

A parent or guardian is best as they will be responsible for the items you borrow -  and also any charges.

Children aged 8 to 15 can join when visiting the library alone.  A letter will be sent to your parent or guardian asking them to bring proof of address into the library to complete your registration.

Children under 8 must be accompanied by an adult.

Under 16s can borrow:

  • 20 items, including 6 audio visual items:
    • Books for 3 weeks loan
    • Spoken word CDs for 3 weeks loan
    • CDs for 1 week loan (fee applies)
    • DVDs for 1 week loan (fee applies)
  • 20 music scores for 3 months
  • 20 play sets for 6 weeks
  • 2 language courses for 6 weeks
  • 1 home electricity monitor for 3 weeks

Library computers

Your parent or guardian will need to sign a consent form before you can use the library computers.

Website content is filtered for children but this doesn’t always block unsuitable material.

Foster carers and childcare professionals

Special library cards are available for various groups, organisations and people. Please ask library staff for details.


We run a free home library service for people cannot easily use a library due to disability or frailty.

You can also apply for this service if you are caring for someone who cannot be left alone.

Ask library staff about how to apply for reading group membership.

The annual charge of £10.80 per group includes:

  • Access to over 1,100 sets of books, delivered free to your local library.
  • Borrowing multiple copies of the same book.
  • Help setting up groups and support from library staff.
  • Regular book magazines and newsletters.

See our Reading groups page for more information.

Playgroups and childminders can borrow extra children’s books for 12 weeks.

Complete a registration form at your local library to get your card.

Childminders will need to bring their childminder registration to get a group card.

Playgroups, as well as parent and toddler groups, can also arrange storytime or rhymetime sessions in the library.

Playgroup book boxes

At some libraries, playgroups can borrow a box of 30 pre-selected books.  These are exchanged 2 times per year.

The boxes contain board books, rhymes, stories, ‘joining in’ books and non-fiction.

We can deliver directly to you, or you can exchange them at most libraries.

  • For most libraries, ask staff for a registration form. We will let you know when your first book box is ready
  • At Eastbourne Library and Hampden Park Library, please ask for the under 5s group ticket instead.

You can ask for a special library card for each of the children in your care. Normal charges apply to children’s audiobooks, DVDs and videos, but there are no fines for late, lost or damaged books.

To get a foster carer card, visit your local library with evidence of your status as a foster carer.

Every teacher in primary and special schools can sign up for a Teacher's Card.  This free service allows you to borrow up to 40 books for your class for 12 weeks.  There is no charge for overdue books.

How to apply for the Teachers' Card

Use our online joiners form to apply. You will need to visit any East Sussex Library to exchange your online membership number for a library card free of charge. Please take proof of your name and address to do so.

We will also need the name of your school and a senior staff member who will act as guarantor for any items you borrow. Please include this information when completing the online form, and add the wording “(Teachers Card)” to your surname.

All the books in the Teachers' Collection are free to reserve.

You can only use the card to borrow books from the Teachers' Collection.

Using the Teachers' Collection

Reserving Books

Use your card number and PIN to reserve books from our Teachers' Collection.  Your books will be boxed up and sent to your nearest library for you to collect.

 Collecting your books

We aim to have your books ready within two weeks.  You will get an email when they are ready to collect.  If you do not collect them within two weeks we will return them to our central store.

If a book you have reserved is on loan or has a reservation, you may have to wait longer for this title to become available for you.  You can cancel a reservation at any time in your account.

Returning your books

Return the set of books to your local library in their original box. You can return them before the end of the loan period if you have finished with them.

Contact us for advice on how to search the collection and reserve books.

Library accounts that are not in use are set to expire after 2 years. This is to ensure that customer data is not kept for longer than needed, and to conserve data storage space.

To renew an expired account, login to My account and select the Personal details section on the dashboard. This will allow you to confirm your contact details and renew your account. You will need your library PIN to use this facility. Please use the PIN reset form if you do not have this.

If you are unable to renew your account, please contact us online, call our enquiries line on 0345 60 80 196 or visit any East Sussex Library. You will need to provide your borrower ID (the number on your library card) or a form of identification.