Terms and conditions of Library Use

Terms and Conditions of use of Waltham Forest Libraries (hereinafter ‘the Service') is a service owned and operated by the London Borough of Waltham Forest, Town Hall, Walthamstow, London, E17 4JF. The terms ‘we', ‘us' or ‘the Council' where used mean the London Borough of Waltham Forest. The terms ‘library user’ means any person who enters the premises whether or not they are a member and have enrolled for library services.

  1. You agree to abide with all the following Terms and Conditions under which this service is offered. We may suspend your access to the service without prior written notice if you are in breach of any of these Terms and Conditions where it is necessary in order to safeguard staff or library users.
  2. You also agree that if you are using the service on behalf of another individual, you will make that individual aware of these Terms and Conditions and such individual(s) shall agree to be bound by these Terms and Conditions.
  3. Library users are required to comply with Byelaws made under Section 19 of the Public Libraries and Museums Act 1964 by the London Borough of Waltham Forest.

Admission to Waltham Forest Libraries and Membership applications

  1. Entrance to all public parts of the libraries is free and any member of the public can make use of the library.
  2. All library members must possess a current membership card, which must be produced when items are borrowed from the library and shown to a member of staff if requested. Library users are responsible for the use of their cards and should not allow others to use it.
  3. Applications for a membership card will be regarded as acceptance of these Terms and Conditions.
  4. Applicants for a membership card are required to provide evidence of identities such as a utility bill or driving licence.
  5. A parent or guardian must counter-sign the membership card for new members that are under the age of 16.
  6. Membership cards are NOT transferable, and Waltham Forest library service must be notified of the loss of a membership card as soon as possible.
  7. Library users will be held responsible for any item borrowed or the use of any equipment using their card unless that card has been reported to the library service as lost or stolen. There will be a charge made for lost membership cards, at the rate currently set by Waltham Forest Council.  
  8. One library card will be issued to each customer.
  9.  Library cards are required to be shown on each occasion that items are to be borrowed or when making a computer booking.
  10. Library cards may be used at any of the libraries within authorities belonging to the London Libraries Consortium
  11. Library members may only use their own cards when borrowing items or booking a computer.
  12. Staff will use discretion in the cases of parents who are genuinely selecting items on behalf of their children or in the case of people borrowing on behalf of elderly people or people with disabilities in order to enable children and those with disabilities to access the service.
  13. In order to operate the service, it is necessary when you sign up to the library to collect the minimum personal data required.  This includes name, address, date of birth, telephone number and email address. We are collecting this data because the data is necessary to carry out the agreement you have entered into i.e. becoming a library member. We may also seek personal information relating to gender, ethnicity, language and disability with your agreement but you are not obliged to provide that information
  14. Waltham Forest Libraries is a member of the London Libraries Consortium (LLC), a consortium of London library authorities who share stock and standardised borrowing practices. Customers only require 1 library card which can be used seamlessly in any of the member authorities. The library membership form used in all libraries of LLC members specifies that personal data is held on a common database and that it may be accessed by library staff in any authority.
  15. If you have any questions or concerns about the way we process your personal data, contact information.officer@walthamforest.gov.uk 

​More information on the corporate privacy policy

Conduct within a Waltham Forest Library

  1. Any furniture, fittings or equipment in a Waltham Forest Library must not be misused or their arrangement altered. An agreement is required for the removal of any council property from the building.
  2. Any damage or defacement of library materials is strictly prohibited. Library users are asked to report any instances of such defacement to library staff that they observe or become aware of.
  3. Excessive noise, disturbance or unseemly behaviour is prohibited, including abusive or threatening behaviour to library staff or to other library users. Staff and other library users are entitled to work in or use the library without fear of verbal or physical abuse. We will take such action as is necessary to protect staff and service users which may include taking steps such as barring service users from the premises and obtaining injunction orders should that be necessary.
  4. Library users are asked to treat others with consideration, in particular those with a disability.
  5. Smoking and the use of e-cigarettes within the libraries (vaping) is not permitted in the library building or outside, near external doorways.
  6. Disruptive mobile phone use is prohibited. Library users are asked to switch their mobile phones off or set them to silent mode in the library. Any calls should be made or taken, away from the quiet areas within the library.
  7. No material other than official notices from the Council may be distributed within the library, without the permission of library staff.
  8. Accessing our network or computer systems in a bid to copy, store, modify or transmit any material without ownership of that material. Or material that contains viruses, malware, spyware, worms, Trojan horses or any other computer code intended to destroy or limit the functionality of any computer system is not permitted.
  9. The creating, accessing, copying, storing, transmitting or publishing of any material that is obscene, racist, defamatory or illegal, causes harassment or gross offence is not permitted. Anyone found abusing the service in this way will be prohibited from future use and we may where an offence has been committed or is suspected to have been committed report this to the police.
  10. Children under the age of 8 must be supervised at all times by their parent or guardian who must also monitor any use by children of public access computers.
  11. Parents and/or guardians are required to be responsible for the materials used and borrowed by members under the age of 16.
  12. Parents/carers remain responsible for the children in their care while in the library.
  13. Library staff are not to be asked to take responsibility for children of any age left unattended in the library. Our staff are instructed not to do so.

Loan facilities and terms of borrowing and use of books, audio-visual items and People’s Network computers

  1. In order to borrow items or use computer equipment library users must have a membership card, which must be produced whenever an item is borrowed. No item may be removed from the library unless it has been checked out.
  2. Library users may have a maximum of 36 items on loan at any one time.  Books must be returned within the official period of the loan as promoted in library publicity, but provided the book is not required by another reader, the period of the loan can be extended for a further period. This can be done up to six times without the book(s) being brought into the library.
  3. Items may be renewed at any London Consortium library, by our 24/7 automated renewals service on 0333  370 4700 or by visiting the library web catalogue and must give the membership card number or the barcode of the library material. The renewal of items reserved by others is not permitted.
  4. A charge is payable for the loan of recorded music items, videos and DVDs. Charges will be payable for any items not returned by the due date. The current scales of charges are displayed in each library.
  5. Provided a valid e-mail address is supplied customers will receive notice 2 days prior to any stock going overdue. If an item has been retained beyond the permitted time, reminders will be sent at approximately 6 weeks after they have become overdue. Reminders will be sent via e-mail/SMS if supplied. If a user has an item overdue they will not be permitted to borrow further items.
  6. Our pre-overdue reminder service is supplied when available. In the unlikely event that our reminder service is unavailable customers remain responsible for ensuring that all items are returned by the date notified at the point of lending.
  7. Waltham Forest Libraries is a member of the London Libraries Consortium (LLC), a consortium of London library authorities who share stock and resources and standardised borrowing practices. Customers only require 1 library card which can be used seamlessly in any of the member authorities.  Please note that any fines incurred on your card are owed to the relevant London borough and not the LLC and that the library membership form used in all libraries of LLC members, specifies that personal data is held on a common database and that it may be accessed by library staff in any authority.
  8. Borrowers are responsible for the loss of or damage to any items while in their possession or borrowed on their library cards. If a card is lost, library staff must be told straight away. Until such notice, the cardholder remains responsible for whatever is borrowed on their cards.
  9. Parents or guardians who act as guarantors for their children are responsible for any items borrowed by their children. Customers will be charged for lost or damaged items.
  10. Parents must confirm their consent to library staff if their child wishes to use the Internet. Consent is usually obtained when the child joins the library service.
  11. Customers who borrow music items, videos, DVDs or PlayStation games are asked to check them for damage at the time of issue and to point out to staff any apparent faults. Customers will be held responsible for any damage discovered when such items are returned.
  12. Customers may reserve any item that is currently unavailable, either in person or on the internet using the London Libraries Consortium Catalogue which makes the stock of 16 other library services available. We ask customers to appreciate that unless the item is currently in stock in their home authority, it may take longer to supply the item, particularly if it is supplied through the inter-library loans service.
  13. Customers will notify library staff straight away of any change of name and address.
  14. No books, maps, manuscripts or other reference articles may be removed from the Reference Section.
  15. No newspaper or periodicals or supplements/inserts are to leave the library, (unless they are clearly designated as being for loan), they must not be written on or any articles torn out.
  16. Photocopies are provided subject to the provisions of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, and upon payment of the appropriate charge.
  17. Personal belongings may not be left unattended in a library without the permission of a member of staff. Waltham Forest Libraries cannot accept responsibility for any personal belongings left unattended in the library.
  18. Library staff may refuse to loan items and may deny the use of a library to anyone who:
  • Refuses to comply with these Terms and Conditions of Library Use
  • Indulges in any form of anti-social behaviour which may disturb other library users
  • Are overtly racist, homophobic, sexist or aggressive to staff or other users
  1. Parents/carers remain responsible for the children in their care while in the library.
  2. Library users should not attempt to reserve study places by leaving personal belongings at desks when they have left the building. Library staff may clear away belongings to allow others to use study places. Note that any unattended belongings are left at the owner’s risk.

Use of information technology services within the library

  1. The use of information technology facilities within the library is governed by the Computer Misuse Act 1990, the Data Protection Act 2018 and the Digital Economy Act 2010.


  1. Failure to observe any of the foregoing provisions may, in the first instance be dealt with by a member of library staff or an authorised person, who may take such action as is reasonable in the circumstances including temporarily suspending your use of services.
  2. Should your breach of these terms and conditions be deemed significant enough you will be notified of your suspension from library services in writing.  We will specify the duration of your suspension and the reasons for it. At the end of your suspension, you may be required to meet with the Libraries Manager or authorised person to agree an Acceptable Usage Policy prior to using services again.
  3. Suspended Library users have a right to appeal against the decision of the library staff or authorised person to the Head of Customer Services. Appeals should be made in writing to the Head of Customer Services. The decision of the appeal will be final.
  4. Complaints about the service will be dealt with under the London Borough of Waltham Forest’s complaints procedure.