Sutton Coldfield Library closed on Monday 15th January for essential improvement work which is expected to take approximately twelve weeks.
As well as maintenance work and the creation of a large archives store in the Local History area the programme will see the addition of a café and play area for pre-school children.
However, in an unprecedented collaboration between the library and two local organisations there will continue to be a short term reference library and weekly toddler play and story time sessions during the closure.
The creative and constructive response from Sutton Coldfield Library, Direct Art Action and FOLIO Sutton Coldfield will see a selection of art history books available for browsing and reference at the gallery based in site previously occupied by BHS.
By making these books available, Sutton Coldfield residents will be able to continue to enjoy some of the library stock during the temporary closure of the building, and be reminded of the wealth of the resources that are available through our public library service.
In addition, Sutton librarians and volunteers from FOLIO Sutton Coldfield will be hosting free toddler play and story time sessions once a week in the art gallery. This will help to ensure that families still have the chance to come together and have some fun whilst the library is being refurbished.
Jonny Mayner, FOLIO trustee said:
“FOLIO Sutton Coldfield is delighted to be working with Direct Art Action and the library staff to provide some continuity of service while the library is temporarily closed. It has been fantastic to see Direct Art Action bring the arts to our town centre and we are hugely grateful to them for facilitating this project.”
Cllr Brigid Jones, Deputy Leader of Birmingham City Council, said:
“This is a great example of innovation and creative thinking at a grassroots level, ensuring part of the Sutton Coldfield Library stock remains accessible during the closure. It is this enthusiasm and commitment by organisations and individuals locally that has laid the foundations for a much more sustainable library service in the future, and I would like to again thank everyone for their efforts.”
Gav Lawley of Direct Art Action said:
“Direct Art Action is delighted to work with the Sutton Coldfield library and FOLIO to open up a new space for an arts specific resource at the Direct Art Action Gallery in Sutton Coldfield.“
The announcement of this innovative collaboration comes after another busy week for FOLIO; almost 50 volunteers offered to help pack up and move books in the library, in preparation for the renovations which will see the FOLIO’s play-cafe The Little Green Bookworm installed. Indeed so many volunteers offered their time that FOLIO wasn’t able to take them all up on their generosity. Monday 15th January saw the first team of volunteers working alongside librarians, and such was the tremendous effort and enthusiasm, the work which was expected to take up to two weeks was completed in just one day!
Zoe Toft, FOLIO Chair said:
“It was incredible to see the commitment and enthusiasm from such a broad range of Sutton residents who all wanted to play a part in building a better Sutton, by offering their time (and arm power!) to make a real difference. Thanks to our volunteers we’ve been able to reduce the time the library is temporarily shut, as well as saving the library service money. What a great demonstration of the local community’s support for our library and FOLIO’s plans for the future.”
Direct Art Action in Sutton Coldfield is based in the former BHS site in the Gracechurch shopping centre. The Library/FOLIO toddler story and play sessions will run ever Wednesday at 11.15 from January 24th 2018, for the duration of the library’s temporary closure.
Direct Art Action in Sutton Coldfield is open:
Wednesdays 11-5 (this earlier opening time only whilst the library is temporarily closed)
Thursday – Saturdays 12 -5