The move of the nationally renowned language service to the Library of Birmingham is an exciting opportunity to bring together libraries, learning and languages, provide a world class home for Brasshouse and allowing us to extend the opening hours of Library of Birmingham again.
Councillor Penny Holbrook, cabinet member for skills, learning and culture, said: “I have been determined to find the right solutions for both the language service and the Library of Birmingham in these challenging times, and this offers a solution that benefits both important services.
“Under the new name of Brasshouse @ Library of Birmingham, the language service will connect even more learners with modern resources and allow us to keep the library open as a public space for longer hours during the week. As well as the benefits for students of bringing the language service to the library, savings in operational costs will make it possible to open the building to the public for longer.
“We have listened to feedback from residents and library campaigners and recognise that people want to use the library for longer and for a variety of uses. People don’t just want to use the library for borrowing books and reference purposes but want to use it as a study space, to work and research, to access the internet, to visit as tourists and to simply hang out and relax.
“We always said we would look at all options available to us when it came to keeping the library open for as many hours as possible, though of course these things do take time to arrange and we had to ensure we get it right.
“We will be engaging with our service users and affected staff and a full business case will be developed, but I know this is a fantastic opportunity for both the Brasshouse and the Library of Birmingham.
“This is a great opportunity for adult teaching and learning to be supported in a hugely improved environment as well as making the service more visible, and so increasing enrolment.”
The library will be able to extend its opening hours by an additional 26 hours, operating from 9am to 9pm on weekdays. The core library service will remain open for 40 hours and the extended hours will involve self-service for book borrowing from a limited stock, limited advisory support and access to study space.
This is a further boost following recently announced collaborative arrangements with Google’s Digital Garage and the British Library.
The aim is to start the self-service in early 2016 with the Brasshouse opening in autumn that year.