Update on Request and Read

Because of the new government restrictions, we regret that customers are not able to come in to our libraries to browse and choose their own books. 

We are extending Request and Read to two more libraries. 

This service allows users to order and collect books from some of our libraries. 

You can now order books from Kentish Town and West Hampstead, as well as from Highgate and Swiss Cottage libraries.  You will be able to collect your books at the two new libraries from Monday 23rd November. 

We developed this service in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, as a way to get books to library members while keeping customers and staff safe. In designing this we followed Public Health England guidelines on social distancing, hygiene and maintaining a COVID-safe environment.   We hope to be able to extend this to other libraries soon.

Which books are available

We can only offer items which are in stock at the library you will collect from. As well as printed books we also have large print titles and talking books (CD format only).  You can request up to four books at a time through this service. 

Our catalogue is available for users to see which books are available at Swiss Cottage and Highgate.  But, we regret that our Reservation service is not available during this period.   We cannot guarantee that we will have the particular title you are looking for, and we ask for your patience as we try to satisfy your requests. If we don't have the book(s) you want, we will suggest alternatives, in consultation with you.

To order, please complete our request form or call us by phone - full details on the next page.

For details of the services available at our other libraries, and for more information, see Changes to the library service.

How to order

To order your books, please fill in the online form or phone the number below. 

You can ask for up to four books with Request and Read. Parents can also request four books for each of their children. Parents should fill in their contact details for any children under 18.

When you fill in the form, you will need to give us your contact details, library membership number (or CAM number if you have just joined).  Please provide details of titles or the kind of books you are looking for.  Once we have received your order a member of staff will be in touch with you to let you know what is available, and to give you a date and time for collection.

Loan period

At the moment all items will be due back on 31 January 2021. 

Request and Read libraries 

From Monday 23 November,  there are four Camden libraries offering the Request and Read service: Swiss Cottage, Highgate, Kentish Town and West Hampstead libraries.  We hope to extend this service to other libraries in due course.  Please choose the appropriate link below.  

Before you order

You can check the catalogue to see what books are available at your chosen library, here:

To order

Order online

Order by phone

  • Call 020 7974 6987 (Monday to Saturday, between 10am and 3.45pm)

Collecting your books

Swiss Cottage is open for people to collect their books by appointment.   Kentish Town and West Hampstead will be open for collections from Monday 23rd November.

At Highgate library we also have book bundles available.  

We will have a collection point in the foyers of the libraries for you to pick up your books.  To ensure that we can keep everyone a safe distance from each other, we will have a queuing system and other safety measures in place.  This will ensure that both staff and customers can comply with social distancing guidance.

Hand sanitiser will be available and we are asking all Camden library customers to sanitise their hands, and to wear a face covering in line with government guidelines.

Your requested books will be made into small bundles. Please bring your own bag for collecting and carrying your items. 

If we can't contact you, or you don't collect your books

We will try contact you to confirm your order three times. If we cannot contact you after five days, we will cancel your order.

If you don't collect your order within the agreed time, your books will be returned to the shelves.  To obtain the items after this, you will need to place the order again.

Returning your items

If you are picking up books, you can return library items at the same time. Please ensure that you queue as appropriate, to ensure social distancing between customers.

If you are only returning items and not collecting new books you can drop off your books into collection boxes in the foyer.

Your books will be quarantined for 72 hours and then discharged by library staff.

You can also return your library items at any of our other libraries.