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What we stock

Our stock includes books, audio books, DVDs, CDs, e-books and e-audio and we aim to provide a comprehensive selection in both fiction and non-fiction.

For fiction we stock:

  • new, classic and perennially popular titles
  • backlist titles and titles some out of print
  • popular bestsellers and minority interest titles

We stock a range of non-fiction including up to, but not necessarily including, undergraduate level. It includes:

  • leisure reading
  • all sorts of practical guides
  • titles to support both formal and informal learning
  • books reflecting different political views and opinions
  • books reflecting different views on issues where there is current debate, such as climate change

Most stock is selected centrally but individual libraries aim to reflect the needs of their local community as closely as possible. If there’s an item on our library catalogue that’s not stocked in your local library you can reserve it.

Different ways of reading

We buy Large Print, audio books on CD and downloadable e-books and e-audio to give customers a wide choice of reading in accessible formats. The text on e-books can be resized making them more accessible to Visually Impaired People. We also signpost to RNIB Talking Books Library.

Equality and diversity

To comply with Equality Act 2010 we buy a range of stock that reflects and celebrates our diverse community in Essex, and promotes good relations across all equality areas including race, disability, gender, religion and sexual orientation.


We aim that the waiting list for fiction books is no more than four reservations to each copy that we have, and for non-fiction, no more than five holds to each copy. For some popular paperbacks we may buy more copies than this.

Requesting stock that’s not on our catalogue

Customers can request items that we don’t stock.

You can do this via the library website, or by asking at any of our 74 libraries or two mobiles. Almost all fiction book requests are bought, if they’re in print and we’re able to source them from our usual suppliers.

When we’re unable to fulfil a request for a particular title customers can either ask us to borrow the item for them from another library authority or from the British Library. This will incur an additional charge.


We accept donations if they’re:

  • in good condition
  • up to date
  • in a format we stock
  • in demand

We do take materials that don’t meet these criteria, but they may not be added to our collections and may be sold so we can buy more new books. If you approach your local library they’ll be able to advise.

Full stock policy

For more details see our full stock policy.

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