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Frequently Asked Questions

Do I have to join a library to use Ask for a Book?

Anyone can use the Ask for a Book website but if you want to collect your free book suggestions, you will need to join your local public library service.

How long will I wait before I can collect my books?

This will vary from a couple of days to a couple of weeks, depending on how long it takes to get the books from another library to your chosen pickup. Your library will let you know when the books are ready to collect.

Do I have to pay anything for this service?

No, it’s all free.

Will I pay fines if I am late returning the books?

Check out the policy of your library service or ask the library staff. Some services make a small charge but many have now gone fines-free.

Who will choose my books?

A trained Book Picker who works for your library service.

What if I don’t like the books suggested?

No problem – just return them and ask for some more! There are lots of other choices.

Why were these particular books picked for me?

Your Book Picker will have used the choices you sent off to them to find books that follow a similar theme or have a similar cover design appeal. Each choice you made has a collection of similar reads associated with them and your Book Picker will select from what is available. They might also send you something they think might offer you something a bit different. If you are disappointed with the books, make another request and try again.

How many ASK requests can I make at once?

The only limit is the number of books your service allows you to borrow at once – this is often up to 20. You may wish to put 2 or 3 requests in at once so that if you call at the library to return your books, there may be new ones waiting to be picked up.

Can I borrow ebooks through ASK?

Check with your library service or ask the staff – some libraries are already offering ebooks through this service and all intend to in future.

I have already read all the books that are being suggested to me, what should I do?

If you enjoyed them the first time round, you might be tempted to re-read one or two of them. If not, just let the library know you won’t pick them up and the books can be made available to someone else. Then make another choice and send a new request into the library for suggestions.

Why isn’t my library service listed?

This is a pilot project running in 15 different areas of England. We hope it will expand in future to include all library services in England, and maybe across the UK. Let your own library service know that you would be interested in using Ask for a Book – you might influence them to get on board.