Late night opening

On Tuesday 6th and Thursday 29th November Stirchley Library will be open until 8pm! Pop along for a limited library service – you’ll be able to borrow, return and renew, and also meet some of FOSL’s volunteers!

Interested in becoming a FOSL volunteer and helping at future late night openings? Please get in touch!


Stirchley Baths Fun Palace

At the beginning of the month we held a great craft and storytelling session as part of the annual Stirchley Baths Fun Palace. A fantastic write up of the day’s activities can be found here and you can see some of the crafty creations in the gallery below.

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Minutes from AGM 11th Sept 2018

FOSL AGM 2018 – 11th September, 7.30pm Stirchley Library

Present: Kerry, Jess, Mark, Theresa, Matt, Andrew, Sandra, Rosie, Alison, Jo, Phil

Apologies: Kate, Cllr Mary Locke, Laura, Rebecca, Liz Parkes

Welcome & Introductions

Current Committee:
Theresa – Chair
Mark – Treasurer
Jessie – Projects
Kerry – Secretary

Successes / achievements over last 12 months

We applied for and was successful in getting funding from the Local Innovation Fund to buy a self service machine, some equipment., and to hire a Volunteer Coordinator

More or less the entire library stock has been tagged.

Volunteer network coordinator – Matt Andrews

Monthly code club – run by Mark & Neil, third Saturday of the month. Post Jan there will be tablets available – and we hope that the group can grow, with increased publicity as the group will be able to handle more people.

Successful in S106 funding, towards library repairs. The council will pay for the boiler, and the S106 would hopefully nbe enough for the other repairs

Oct 2017 we joined last year’s fun palace, and we’ll be doing the same again this October

We’ve joined in the local Stirchley Community Market and Stirchley late summer bash.

Organised lots of craft sessions including last week’s Heritage Open Weekend – making clock faces to coincide with Stirchley History Group’s event.

We held an event with Kings Heath Action for Refugees.

Volunteer network

Matt Andrews – introduction. Helping to establish volunteer network, to make sure its self sustainable and complements (not replicates) the Stirchley Library service. Using the new kiosk, helping navigate the library, helping on FOSL events, volunteer presence to help library open over lunchtimes, trying evening openings, to make the library accessible to more local people. Also helping residents set up events at the library to expand the use of this important building. There’ll be more training sessions end of Sept and in Oct. Matt will provide ongoing support over the next few months. Making it sustainable so it supports itself and the library.

Q – what’s the relationship with the management of the library – volunteers will be FOSL volunteers, short term by MA, long term by FOSL, the library has its own volunteers. The library are supportive, because it makes the library accessible for more people – we’re the first library to work in this way in Birmingham. They help with craft sessions and reading groups – not library roles. We do not advocate volunteers running the library – we want to support the library staff.

We want the volunteers to also be champions of the library and encourage other people to use it.

The situation in Selly Oak – Touchbase Pears – children’s books only. A local library model that’s being tested. The FOSL committee very much want to keep the library open in this particular building. It’s open 7-7, it’s not necessarily better or worse, but a different model. A library is what the community makes of it – encouraging people to use it. Ideas of how to do that needs to come through the community too.

More residents in Stirchley responded to the consultation in Jan 2017 than any other areas.

Safety concerns – always more than one person. Minimum of three in the building – however the volunteers are not replacing the staff. Different processes for whatever the event / reason for being open / reason for needing volunteers are. – is the email address to contact Matt Andrews about the volunteer network.

Committee Roles

Thanks Kerry for her time. Standing down.

Chair, Theresa – Treseaser, Mark – Treasurer, Jessie – Projects,  proposed by Sandra, seconded by Phil

Secretary – Rosie Boodell, Theresa propose, Matt seconded

Social Media – sharing social media role, Laura Killeen & Rebecca Shales, Theresa propose them joining the committee, Matt seconded

Advisor to the committee – Kate Andrews, volunteer for now / advisory capacity – committee member when Matt not in paid role.

Andrew, Theresa propose join committee, Rosie second

Treasurer’s Report

Two sources of income – fundraising last year, £170. LIF Bid, £20,000.

Public liability insurance we paid for by the cash fundraising.

Kiosk was £10,200

Bank account currently stands at: £8,100.

If the kiosk breaks down the maintenance is with the library service. It’s under warranntee at the moment.

Note – find out who is responsible for future service charges. TS speak to Liz

The money has to be spent within 12 months.

KHAR / Library of Sanctuary

We had an exhibition called Schools of Sanctuary, we held an event called Hope Not Help – how to communicate effectively the conversations to do with migration – this was our first evening event when the library would have otherwise been closed.

FOSL is working on becoming a Library of Sanctuary – refugees are initially housed at the Kensington Hotel, we’ll be partnering with KHAR’s welcome walks, showing people what local public services/areas there are available to them – we want to be able to offer temporary library cards. Making it so new people know where we are. A sheet for new people showing how we can help / being welcoming! Maybe a returns box at Kensington Hotel. Making library staff and volunteers aware of what those invisible barriers might be for those people to be able to access those services.

Birmingham is a city of sanctuary –

Update on the boiler

Asbestos was successfully removed. Acivico could only give an estimate for the cost of the boiler prior to the asbestos removal. Now the actual quote has come thropugh, it is three times their original quote. This will now be going out to tender rather than through Acivico. It will need to be a commercially registered boiler-person. Will Acivico be doing the other work? TS speak to Liz

Can English Heritage provide any weight with the council for it to go to a specialist contractor?


Sandra – the library has applied for listed building status.

Kate – suggestion to introduce a working area in the library – more tables – in the future tea and coffee on an honesty box system/ or suggested payment amount. There are a huge amount of people in stirchley that hot-desk in cafes, lots of small businesses and freelancers that would benefit with having an area to work, and would work in the library if it were open and if there were spaces. How can we make this happen? Circuit-breaker non-trip hazard plugs needed, permission from library. The suggestion of purchasing 2-3 tables like the Baths have with the wheels on (fold-down ones). – Theresa to speak to Liz.

How can Stirchley History Group and FOSL work together – and link with the Baths. Better use of the front porch area for displays? Better use and promotion of the local history collection. SHG & FOSL to attend each others meetings.

Stirchley History Group – Birmingham Heritage Week

Discover Stirchley Library

Heritage Open Day  – Saturday 8 September: 1400-1600

Come and discover Stirchley Library which was designed by local architect John P Osborne. Opened in 1905, it is Grade 2 Listed and has been in continuous use as Council Library to the present day, being a much loved mainstay of the local community.

On display will be an exhibition of rarely seen photographs (including events from 1970s and 1980s) reflecting the history of the library building and the people who have worked in and used it.

It is an opportunity to share or discover how access to books and materials was facilitated over the years and how books were borrowed before computers revolutionised the service.

See copies of Bournville Works Magazine (1902-1967). This comprehensive and well-illustrated in-house magazine was produced for over sixty years at the beginning of the twentieth century. In addition to typical articles relating to Cadbury company matters, the magazine carried regular reports of sports and social activities, details of new employees and those leaving the company, weddings, births and deaths, and a whole host of small ads! There is plenty of material for both family and social history research.
Well worth a browse.

Members of Stirchley History Group will be at hand to share information about the Library. The event is supported by Friends of Stirchley Library and staff of Birmingham Library Service.

No booking required

Organised by Stirchley History Group. Contact for the day: Sandra Cooper
@StirchleyHist @StirchleyLibrary

The library is next to Stirchley Baths Community Centre near junction with Pershore Road. On road parking. Near to bus routes 27, 45 & 47 and Bournville Station

Sticking Together

Sticking Together!

As part of Friends of Stirchley Library’s (FOSL) successful bid to the Local Innovation Fund, we have purchased a self-service kiosk that will enable users to return and check out books, check their balance and pay fines. This will help free up the library staff  for other important work.

In order for books to be taken out and returned via the kiosk, they need to be tagged and stickered. This is big task and we need your help! Our first challenge is going to be to add the entire children’s fiction section to the system.

We’d really appreciate an hour or two of your time to help on the following dates:

Tuesday 14th August, 1-3pm

Wednesday 15th August 6.30-8.30pm

Thursday 30th August, 1-3pm

Children are very welcome to join in. This will be a great opportunity to chat with the FOSL team and learn more about how you can get involved as a volunteer.

FOSL Volunteer Network – Get Involved!

FOSL Volunteer Network – Get Involved!

Following the campaign to save Stirchley Library in 2017, Friends of Stirchley Library is now focused on the future of the library. We want to support the existing library service and staff and keep the library at the centre of the Stirchley community for years to come.

Over the next six months, FOSL will establish a network of volunteers who can support the library staff and move towards the library being open more often and accessible to more people. Last year, lots of people in the community registered their interest in volunteering with FOSL. We’re now ready to kickstart the Volunteer Programme, providing the required training and ongoing support.

We are looking for volunteers to support FOSL in the following areas:

1. To support the existing library staff and expand opening hours

This will be a phased rollout of an expanded service, starting out with lunchtimes and evening events, with the aim of increasing library usage and moving towards the library being open more than 3 days per week. This will be a great way to meet other people in the community and contribute to the expansion of the library service.

Volunteers will assist customers with the use of the new Self-Service Kiosk, use of PCs and printing.

2. To assist in the programming and running of community events

We want the library to be at the heart of our community, a venue that hosts a wide variety of events for people of all ages and families. We can only do this through the support of volunteers. Have an idea for an event that could be held at the library? Or just want to help out with setting up and running events? We’d love to see more book clubs, community group meetings, creative workshops and evening events taking place at the library.

3. FOSL Committee

Friends of Stirchley Library is currently run by a small but passionate committee of four local people who care about the future of the library and its place in the community. Unfortunately we only have so much capacity, and would really value other voices in the community contributing to our long-term planning, governance and fundraising. Help us realise the big ambitions we have for FOSL by joining the committee!

To register your interest in volunteering with FOSL, please fill out this short form and our Volunteer Network Coordinator Matt Andrews will be in touch soon.

Thank you for your interest!