Croydon’s online library system has had a facelift, meaning that readers can reserve books, renew loans or review their borrowing history over the internet from the comfort of their homes.

Since the new system went live in mid-December, people logging on to the council’s website to look for books will have had a far better experience than was previously the case.

More information about each book is now visible to customers, and whereas previously the library had only been able to contact people through the post, the new system allows more modern means of communication to be used, as e-mails can now be sent as reminders to those who would prefer to be reached in that way.

Searching for books will be made easier too. People can limit their search to just one branch, and they can be less precise about the exact title of the book, as the programme will look for ones with similar sounding spellings.

Eventually the system will allow some libraries to introduce self-service check-in and check-out of books, and overall will make the whole library operation far more effective and efficient.

Councillor Steve Hollands, cabinet member for culture and sport sad: “The new system not only looks and feels a lot more customer friendly - it’s also going to offer a lot more of the functionality that our customers have told us they want.

“People using the catalogue will build up a profile on the website, meaning that as they borrow books they will start to get recommendations of other titles that they might also like to read, and there will be a lot more information available about the books too.

“Online library membership has other benefits - it will be easy to look at your borrowing history, and if you want to get reminders about books that are due to be returned you can opt to receive e-mail - or in the future hopefully text alerts.”