Birmingham City Council

Spotlight on resources in libraries for deaf and hard of hearing children

Birmingham Libraries welcomes children with disabilities and special needs.

The Spotlight pack contains information about our services to Deaf and hard of hearing children and their parents and carers. The pack is attached at the bottom of the page as a document which can be printed off. You can also get a copy from your local library.

The same information is also available on our Young Libraries website on the following pages:

Library Services

Joining the library
Children can join the library at any age by filling in a children’s joining form and having it signed by a parent, guardian or person over eighteen. Take it to any library and they will give you a free library card and a four number PIN which you can use straight away. The PIN number is important because it can be used to reserve or renew books online and at some libraries use the self issue system. Alternatively, you can join online and your ticket will be posted out to you.

Children can borrow 8 books, free of charge and keep them for 4 weeks. There are no charges for late items borrowed on a child's ticket. In addition children under 5 and children with disabilities do not have to pay for damage.

All libraries hold activities for children such as storytimes, craft sessions, author visits or teenage reading groups. Find out what is on at your local library or at Centre for the Child in Birmingham city centre. Please let our staff know if there is anything they can do to make access easier and to ensure your child enjoys the event.

Homework Support Sessions
These sessions, held at most libraries, are free. Specially trained staff will assist children to find, understand and use information which will help with their homework and projects. Staff can explain how to use the other resources such as computers, printers and photocopiers. Find out details of times from your local library.

Access and Equipment
All Birmingham Libraries welcome people with learning difficulties and disabilities.

Libraries across the city have loop systems, either fixed or portable, to help hard of hearing children especially those with a T switch on their hearing aid. A minicom is available on 0121 303 4547. This enables people to contact the libary via the telephone system by sending messages to a small screen. You can also contact us by email. Some library staff have qualifications in BSL and a signer can be provided if requested in advance to enable children to take part in library activities.

Computers in the Library
Facilities include Internet, word processing, CD ROM games, and email.

At about 6 months, all babies receive a free Bookstart pack at the check up at their local clinic. The pack consists of two board books for baby, a place mat, a book list, help for parents and a library joining form. A further Bookstart pack is available for children aged 3-4 years.

Bookshine - This is an additional Bookstart pack for children aged 0-4 who are Deaf or hard of hearing. There are two books - one a touchy/feely book and one a baby signing picture book. The nursery rhyme placemat also has simple signing on it. Bookshine also has advice for parents on how to share books with deaf and hard of hearing children. Ask your health visitor or local library. There is also a Booktouch pack for children aged 0-4 who have visual impairment.

Family Information Service
Advice about childcare services in Birmingham plus up-to-date lists of childminders, private and voluntary day nurseries, Education Department provision, pre schools (playgroups), parent and toddler groups, out of school playcare clubs and holiday care in any area of Birmingham.

Translation Service
Information produced by Birmingham Library Service, including the Spotlight pack can be supplied in accessible formats, such as large print, Braille, audiotape, and community languages. Tel: 0121 303 4647.

Books, Tapes and Other Resources

Tactile and smelly books
Birmingham Libraries offer a wide selection of tactile books designed to stimulate and engage young children. As the child explores a tactile book, a variety of different textures and even smells are used to demonstrate words and meaning.

Children's books with postive images of deafness
Birmingham Libraries stocks a wide range of books which include positive images of deaf and hard of hearing children. This includes picture books, story books for older children and non-fiction.

Signed picture books and videos
Birmingham Libraries also have signed picture books using a number of types of signing including British Sign Language, Sign Assisted English, American Sign Language, Baby Signs and Makaton. There is also a collection of videos featuring British Sign Language.

Library Catalogue
The library catalogue is available online to search our stock, place reservations, check or renew your loans at

Useful Websites
Birmingham Libaries have produced a selective list of websites to support deaf and hard of hearing people.

Children and Young People with Special Needs
Spotlight on resources in libraries for children with visual impairment
Access to Libraries for Deaf and Hard of Hearing People

Spotlight on resources in Birmingham Libraries for deaf and hard of hearing children

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