Cowes Library

Welcome to Cowes Library web pages

The library provides a welcoming space to relax in the heart of Cowes. Our library facilities also have a specialist maritime collection and a small maritime museum.

The library is supported locally by our supporters' group that helps raise money for the library and to provide regular events of all kinds.

Opening times:

  • Monday: 10am to 12.30pm and 1.30pm to 5pm
  • Tuesday: 10am to 12.30pm and 1.30pm to 5pm
  • Wednesday: CLOSED
  • Thursday: CLOSED
  • Friday: 10am to 12.30pm and 1.30pm to 5pm
  • Saturday: 10am to 4.30pm

Regular events and activities

Book Therapy Reading Group

A monthly evening reading group. If you wish to join, or would like more information, contact us.  

Rhymetime for babies and toddlers

Held on Mondays 11am to 11.30am.  A free, weekly half-hour session of rhymes and action songs to help your baby or toddler with their language development. And it is great for socialising and making new friends for your baby and you. There is no need to book, just come along and have fun. 

Games Club for four to 12 year-olds

It's held on the first Saturday of every month from 10.30am to 12pm. There are a variety of different games available, such as giant Jenga, knock-down dominoes, Twister, and many board games for older children, such as chess. It’s a lot of fun and is a great place for children to make new friends! If you have any games you no longer want, then donate them to your Library. Children can bring their own games to share too. Children must be accompanied by an adult.

Cowes LEGO Club

Held from 10am to 12pm on the last Saturday of every month. Each month, children are given a mission to complete, which will be on display until the next month. Children must be accompanied by an adult at all times.

Junior Colouring Club 

Held on the third Saturday of the month from 2pm to 4pm. Come and enjoy some colouring-in, drawing and being creative with pencils and pens. All materials provided. All children must be accompanied by an adult.

Tuesday Chess for all ages

A weekly chess club for all ages held between 2 - 5pm. Come and play or learn from others. Supported by Chess in Schools and Communities. All children must be accompanied by an adult at all times.

Casual Chess

First Saturday of the month 11am to 2pm. Children must be accompanied by an adult. 

Cowes Library Games Club for Adults

Held on the first and third Mondays of the month from 10am to 12pm. It's for adults to socialise and enjoy playing a variety of board games or cards. If you like to play games such as Scrabble, chess, draughts, cribbage or choose from a selection of many more, then come along. If you don't know how to play certain games, then our supporters or others can show you. If you have any games you wish to donate to the Library, bring them in. Refreshments are provide. Contact us for more information.

Cowes Library Drop-in Café

Held on the second Friday of the month from 10.30am to 12pm. If you fancy some tea or coffee, cake, and a friendly chat, or even if you're browsing books, then just pop in between 10.30am and 12pm. Organised by the Supporters of Cowes Library, it's free and all are welcome. You don't need to be a library member to join in.

Philo Café at Cowes Library

Held on the first Wednesday of the month from 7pm to 9pm. This is a monthly event providing thoughtful and lively discussion on chosen topics. And it's an opportunity to talk about the way we and our communities, national and international, deal with the challenges of modern life.

Using a form of the Socratic Method, the group listens carefully and gives considered responses, and follow the tradition of the Society for the Furtherance of Critical Philosophy. No knowledge of academic philosophy is needed as critical philosophy begins with the experience and wisdom of ordinary people. View more information on the Society for the Furtherance of Critical Philosophy website. You can just go along, or for more information contact Cowes Library using the 'Contact' tab above.

Cowes Library Drawing Group

Held on Thursdays from 2pm to 4pm or 7pm to 9pm. If you enjoy drawing or would love to learn how to draw using all types of mediums, then come along. This is a popular class and run by artist Bethany Moore. Booking is essential. Contact

Vectis Historical and Heritage Wargaming Group

Meet monthly on Saturdays at Cowes Library, usually between 10am and 4pm, with a break for lunch. Any level of interest or experience welcome. Models are provided and it's free to attend. Recommended age 16and older. To find out future dates or for more information, contact Cowes Library or email Will Bossman:

What we offer

  • Books
  • DVDs*
  • Free internet access and Wi-Fi
  • eBooks
  • Talking books on CD and cassette*
  • Large print books
  • Maritime collection
  • Computer facilities
  • eMagazines
  • Free access to Find My Past family history website
  • Online reference resources
  • Word processing
  • Scanning facilities           
  • Colour and black and white photocopying service*           
  • Reference collection    
  • Local Studies collection
  • Newspapers                            
  • Bus Pass applications          
  • Teenage area                
  • Children’s area 
  • Homework collection

*Charges apply for these services.

View our fees and charges (PDF, 233KB, 2 pages) list.

Cowes Heritage publications

We have a range of local interest DVDs and books created by the Cowes Heritage Group for sale. For a full list of items available from the library, visit Cowes Heritage.

Titles include:

  • 'The History of Shops in Cowes'
  • 'King Ward and his huge Isle of Wight estate'
  • 'The Story of Northwood House' 
  • ' Ward Family' by George Chastney
  • 'The Pubs of Cowes, Gurnard and Northwood' by David Jones
  • 'East & West Cowes in the Second World War including Gurnard, Northwood and Whippingham' by Island author Mark Tetley.

Maritime collection and museum

Cowes Library hosts the Island's collection of maritime books. The collection is mainly concerned with yachts and yachting, boatbuilding on the Isle of Wight and the hovercraft. We have tried to keep the collection relevant to those aspects of the sea for which the Isle of Wight is noted. We also have a small but interesting maritime museum which is part of the Island's museum collection.

Supporters and volunteers

The Supporters of Cowes Library provide invaluable help to the library and its staff.

The number of activities now available in the library has grown significantly with the help of the supporters group. They raise funds for the library, provide help to organise and run events and give essential support and advice to the library service. The group is a valuable link between us and Cowes residents. It enables us to test out ideas and check that our plans for the library are what residents want.