The library service is provided for all. This may involve working with a wide variety of organisations; however, individuals remain the prime focus of the service.
Rotation and circulation of the physical stock will make sure that customers see a wider, more diverse range of titles on library shelves and that maximum use is made of limited resources.
Public Libraries must comply with the Public Sector Equality duty (section 149 of the Equality Act). This imposes a duty on public bodies to have due regard to advance equality of opportunity between persons who share a relevant protected characteristic and persons who do not share it. Access to a wide range of library resources is a way of protecting and promoting equality with relation to the nine protected characteristics.
The relevant protected characteristics set out in the Equalities Act are:
- Gender reassignment
- Pregnancy and maternity
- Religion or belief
- Sexual orientation
Meeting the needs of particular groups
People from all backgrounds and cultures have an equal right of access to library services. Birmingham is home to many different communities and the Library service reflects this diversity in its physical stock.
Material is provided in a range of community languages where a significant need is identified and can be borrowed through any service point. Every service point provides books and other materials in English that reflect a wide diversity of cultures, experiences and perspectives.
Selected libraries provide resources for speakers of other languages who are learning English.
Children and Young People
The library service regards children and young people as a priority group and will provide an appropriate range of stock at every service point.
The aims of Birmingham Library and Archive Services stock provision for children and young people are to:
- encourage a love of books and reading from the earliest age
- supply material and support for education, information and recreational needs
- encourage all forms of literacy through a variety of media
- promote children’s literature of a high quality
- extend children’s personal development and knowledge through imaginative learning experiences
- introduce children and young people to a variety of life situations and cultures, to encourage them to be sensitive to others
- support children’s independent reading/learning
- provide material suitable for children of all abilities to enable them to make informed life choices
- provide material in appropriate formats for children with special needs, and promote positive images
Birmingham Library and Archive Services are an accredited source of information, advice and guidance on learning opportunities. The library service supports the informal educational needs of learners of all ages from basic needs to core skills and research level. Electronic resources complement and extend access to formal and informal learning.
The Library of Birmingham holds many major research collections in addition to its comprehensive general subject reference provision. All Birmingham libraries stock resources to support homework for children and young people and for adults wishing to develop existing skills or learn new ones. Books that may be used as study support in schools and colleges will be found in libraries’ stock.
People who have difficulties reading print
To provide equality of access to information and reading material, all libraries provide books in large print and ‘talking books’ on audio tape, CD or digital downloads for adults and children. Subtitled DVD/videos are available for loan to adults. Clearvision text/braille books, tactile, ‘noisy’ and extra-large books and signed DVD/videos are provided for children.
The charging policy reflects this provision as there are no loan charges for people who experience a visual or hearing impairment or dyslexia.
Access software is provided at all service points to increase access to electronic resources and selected service points have magnifying equipment for people with a visual impairment.
Reading aids are available for loan to people with difficulty in holding books through the Library Services at Home service.
All Birmingham libraries provide material for people who wish to improve their literacy skills.