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Welcome to birmingham.gov.uk

Our promise to you - Birmingham Libraries' Standards

Birmingham libraries are open to anyone who wishes to use them

  • Provide a wide range of reading material for free loan to adults, children and young people in a variety of accessible formats and community languages
  • Provide access to a comprehensive range of subject reference resources
  • Provide recorded music, videos and DVDs for loan
  • Provide access to information services in person, by telephone, letter, fax, e-mail or via the Internet
  • Provide impartial and confidential information and will refer you to a trustworthy source where necessary
  • Provide access to a wide range of learning opportunities for adults, children and young people including support for homework at all libraries
  • Provide free access to the Internet
  • Provide books, newspapers and magazines which reflect the cultural and ethnic diversity of local communities
  • Provide a free reservation service for books and items in Birmingham Libraries stock which are not immediately available
  • Treat you equally, with courtesy, and according to your individual needs
  • Train staff so that they are able to provide a high standard of service
  • Provide an accessible and safe environment and train staff to use any necessary equipment
  • Ask your opinion about our services, consult you on our plans for the service and tell you how we performed against our standards
  • Work to achieve the Children Promise, the Department of Media Culture and Sport national Public Library Standards and other recognised national standards appropriate for library services

Birmingham Library Standards

Access to Birmingham Library Services

  • Birmingham libraries are open to everyone who wishes to use them for information and study
  • Everyone who lives works or studies in Birmingham is entitled to join the Central, Community, Mobile libraries or if eligible, the Housebound library service, to borrow books and other materials that are for loan. Non profit-making community groups are entitled to use the Community Loan Scheme to borrow library materials to support their activities
  • Birmingham Libraries will provide a reservation service for books and items not immediately available. We will meet the national standards for the speed of supply
  • Birmingham Libraries will train staff to ensure that all users are treated equally and according to individual needs. A continuous programme will ensure that all staff are trained in
  • Customer care
  • Equalities Issues
  • Work with Children & Young People
  • Disability awareness
  • A minimum of one person at each service point will have attended an update on Work with Children and Young People in the last three years.
  • One member of staff from each lending library will attend two children stock awareness training sessions each year.
  • All staff will have attended Reader Development training
  • Birmingham Libraries will provide access to facilities and services that meet the needs of disabled people and according to the requirements of the Disability Discrimination Act including provision of a housebound library service for individuals and to people in residential care.

    Information services

  • Birmingham Libraries will provide access to information services in person, by phone, letter or fax, by email and the Internet
  • Birmingham Libraries will provide access to a comprehensive range of subject reference resources
  • Birmingham Libraries will provide information which is current and accurate. Relevant advice will be impartial and confidential. Where we cannot provide an answer we will refer to an alternative source of help.


  • Birmingham Libraries will provide access to comprehensive resources for learning and study. Every library will have space and facilities for study and there will be homework support at every library. Each library will have at least one PC dedicated to childrens use out of school hours.

    Reading, Literature and Cultural Activities

  • All libraries will offer access for adults, children and young people to a range of reading material including

    • Classic and contemporary fiction
    • Bestsellers
    • New and emerging authors
    • Writing short-listed for established national prizes
    • Information books to support leisure and personal interest

  • Birmingham Libraries will provide information about literature and reading to meet the needs and expectations of users. All libraries will offer access to materials for adults, children and young people in different formats, including
  • Community languages
  • Large print
  • Cassette
  • Video
  • DVD
  • Birmingham Library Services will actively participate in the national Reader Development movement which aims to increase the confidence of readers and to widen the choices available to them. Birmingham Libraries will maintain a programme of regular displays, exhibitions and events promoting literature and reading, photography, local history, music and other arts and interest topics. Every library will hold at least one weekly childrens activity / story session during the summer holidays and ten other activities throughout the year

    Consultation and engagement with users and citizens

  • Birmingham Libraries welcome comments, both formal and informal and will respond to requests for improvements to library services. Formal methods include
  • Customer Comments scheme for Comments, Compliments and Complaints
  • Comments books at all libraries and services
  • Comment form on the website Unless requested not to do so, we will reply within 28 days. This may take longer if the reply is in an alternative format or in a language other than English
  • Birmingham Library Services will consult on developments or changes to library services which affect library users. Birmingham Libraries will undertake a continuous programme of surveys in accordance with the national standard for Public Library User Surveys. The timetable for the surveys will be publicised and the results will be made available for public scrutiny and comment
  • Birmingham Libraries will tell you about
  • the standards of provision that you are entitled to expect including the Childrens Promise
  • plans for all aspects of library services including plans for service improvements and for the use of the library budget for books and other materials
  • the results of all user surveys and consultation exercises and what action will be taken as a result
  • performance against national and local performance indicators and national and local standards for library services.
    Birmingham Libraries will, on request, provide information about library services in community languages as well as in English and in alternative formats as well as in print.

  • All Libraries will have a core collection of reference materials to support homework and out-of-school learning. The collection will be reviewed annually and will cover key National Curriculum topics. All Libraries will have a standard collection of reference materials as a basic entitlement to information resources
  • All Libraries will stock materials which reflect the cultural and ethnic diversity of their communities
  • All Libraries will offer free access to a range of networked CDROM information resources and the Internet
  • Birmingham Libraries will ensure that no lending books are more than 10 years old unless they have a specific relevance eg research
  • The Central Library will maintain and develop a wide range of reference, knowledge resources for information, study and research to support lifelong learning and education, for leisure or as part of the city heritage collections
  • Recorded and printed music is available through all libraries with large collections on site at Central Library and Sutton Coldfield Libraries
  • Birmingham Libraries will undertake a continuous programme of conservation of unique and Birmingham heritage materials held in the collections at the Central Library and in the City Archives

    External Standards

  • Birmingham Libraries will subscribe to recognised national standards wherever appropriate for library services.

If you require this information in any other language or format emaillibraries@birmingham.gov.ukor contact yourlocal library

Customer Comments, Compliments and Complaints
Library Standards 2008 - 2009 Audit Guide

Local Library Standards Audit 2010-2011

 PDF (Size: 165 Kb Type: pdf )

Our Promise to You

 PDF (Size: 13.9 Kb Type: pdf )