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Birmingham's libraries are

the beating hearts of our communities. In some neighbourhoods, the local library is the only remaining indoor public space. 

Why Libraries Matter

 

Our local libraries are the beating hearts of our communities. In some neighbourhoods, the local library is the only remaining indoor public space. 

 

Our libraries, staffed by professionals, are uniquely safe, free, accessible spaces where we can all feel welcome. Libraries and their staff support us at some of the most vulnerable times of our lives: when we are very young and when we are very old, when we need help and information, when we need a safe warm space to be, and when we need social connection and a friendly face. 

 

Our library services are flexible and have adapted with our changing needs. They are important for digital inclusion, offering free internet access and help navigating public services only available online.

 

Most of all, our libraries are critical infrastructure for literacy. 50% of wards in Birmingham rank in the top 10% of literacy need in England. Free access to books and other reading resources is essential for many, especially children.

 

Libraries and the library service in Birmingham today offer us:

 

  • Reading - free access to materials including books from any library across the city, reading activities, clubs and challenges, and books in accessible formats.

  • Cultural experiences that reach people in our community who otherwise might not take part in arts activities, supporting personal development, learning, and well-being. 

  • Digital access - wifi and computer access, vital for those without access at home, and support for individuals with limited digital skills.  

  • Well-being and health support, with information, signposting to local agencies, and activities that promote health and social connection.

  • Information and online services - help to access information and services vital to our lives, such as careers, health, personal finance and benefits.

  • Learning - libraries help us learn throughout our lives, from infancy, through school and college, in adulthood and in later life, from storytelling for toddlers to adult literacy programmes. From space to study with access to books and journals, to supporting creativity and digital skills. 

 

Across the country, libraries get more visits each year than any other cultural service, reaching people across income brackets, ages, and ethnicities. Local libraries are essential.

Download our brief Birmingham Needs Public Libraries.

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