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Library of Birmingham to open 12 hours a day from February

The library will open from 9am to 9pm, Monday to Friday, from February 1 with new self-service options offered up

The Library of Birmingham

The Library of Birmingham will open 12 hours a day weekdays from February, it has been announced.

The £188 million venue has been opening for a pitiful 40 hours in recent years after swingeing cuts but has turned a corner thanks to a tie-in with the Brasshouse language service.

It will open from 9am to 9pm, Monday to Friday, from February 1 with new self-service options offered up.

Councillor Penny Holbrook, cabinet member for skills, learning and culture, said: “Last summer’s decision to move the nationally renowned Brasshouse language service to the Library of Birmingham means that the service will be able to connect with even more learners within a world class setting – and the Library of Birmingham can extend its opening hours again.

“For that to happen we need to carry out some essential work so the Library of Birmingham will close for three additional days over the Christmas period, meaning minimum disruption for library users. Once that work has been completed we can then continue will less invasive changes and from February people will be able to use the library before and after the current opening hours for key services on the ground floor.”

The changes to the library come with the world-renowned Brasshouse centre moving from its current base in Sheepcote Street next to Brindleyplace.

It will mean opening hours increase after previously being cut from 73 per week to just 40 as part of wider cost-cutting.

However, there seems little hope of a return of Sunday opening in the short-term.

The Brasshouse, which currently offers training in 30 languages, will operate as Brasshouse @ Library of Birmingham following the move in September next year.

The tie-up is part of a wider push to get better value out of the library, which is costing the authority upwards of £20 million a year, including a large chunk of interest costs.

Smaller deals have been agreed with the likes of Google, with its digital skills training initiative Google Digital Garages and a cultural tie-in with the British Library.

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