Library news and events

The latest news from Sandwell Library and Information Service including some forthcoming events.

All of our regular events can be found on the regular activities in Sandwell page. All our other events and activities can be found on the events calendar.

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TechPlay Craft Sessions

Sandwell youngsters will be able to take advantage of innovative TechPlay craft sessions in our libraries during the summer holidays.

TechPlay sessions – made possible thanks to funding from Arts Council England – will use virtual reality headsets, 3D doodler pens and robotic kits.

The aim is for children aged eight and above to have fun as well as developing their skills using technology.

There will be drop-in sessions in the six town libraries of Sandwell: Blackheath, Oldbury, Smethwick, Tipton, Wednesbury, and Central Library, West Bromwich. All sessions are free, and are being run by the LearnPlay Foundation, who have great experience in working with children and young people. They run from 10.30am to 1pm, and 2pm to 4.30pm.

The sessions are as follows:

  • Blackheath Library: Monday 31 July - Monday 7 August - Monday 14 August - Friday 1 September
  • Wednesbury Library: Tuesday 1 August - Tuesday 8 August - Monday 21 August - Tuesday 29 August
  • Tipton Library: Wednesday 2 August - Wednesday 16 - Wednesday 23 August - Wednesday 30 August
  • Central Library: Thursday 3 August - Wednesday 9 August - Friday 18 August - Friday 25 August
  • Oldbury Library: Friday 4 August - Friday 11 August - Tuesday 15 August - Tuesday 22 August
  • Smethwick Library: Thursday 10 August - Thursday 17 August - Thursday 24 August - Thursday 31 August

For more information, please contact any Sandwell Library.

Joy of Jazz as Sandwell joins international festival

Top musicians will be sharing the joy of jazz in Sandwell as the borough teams up with a major international festival.

The newly-renamed Birmingham, Solihull and Sandwell Jazz Festival 2017 will see around 30 performances across Sandwell's six towns – with libraries, museums, parks, Sandwell Arts Café, Windsor Theatre Bar and other venues hosting events from 14 to 23 July.

eAudiobooks Session

Learn how to use your smartphone, tablet, laptop or PC to listen to free eAudiobooks downloaded from the libraries eAudiobook website.

  • Tuesday 14 February
  • Central Library, West Bromwich, B70 8DZ
  • 10am - 12noon


Are you struggling to find reliable sources of information to support critical aspects of your life – such as your health and wellbeing, money, benefits or work?

Public librarians have brought together some of their preferred and trusted websites for these topics to help you find the information or services that you need.

Fully searchable by postcode, the information4living website links directly to local information in the region as well as key national sources.

Keep it down – people are reading!

Sssh - Sandwell libraries are proving so popular they are having to set aside quiet zones for people to read and study.

Library staff are setting up dedicated quiet ‘sssh zones’ in all libraries for those visitors who want a bit of silence.

Over the years all Sandwell libraries have become busy community hubs offering much more than just borrowing books. They are used by community groups, for art exhibitions, craft clubs, children’s holiday activities, for gigs, drama and dance – and now a little bit of them will be set aside during the day for quiet reading.

Councillor Richard Marshall, cabinet member for leisure, said: “We are setting up ‘sssh zones’ where we are asking people to keep conversations to a minimum, avoid taking or making phone calls and keep electronic devices on silent.

“In recent years Sandwell libraries have become really vibrant community hubs with so many interesting and different cultural events going on but we never lose sight of their initial purpose – somewhere to borrow books and if people want a quiet place to read them and study.”

For more details on quiet zones, please contact your local library or email

New COBRA service available for customers

COBRA is a comprehensive and continually updated information resource providing advice and support to micro-business owners, small firms and new business start ups.

It includes:

  • over 700 business start-up profiles and guides to business start-up ideas
  • business information fact sheets - how tos and practical small business checklists, from business plans to personnel, tax to marketing
  • UK market synopses - guides to trends and opportunities in a number of UK market sectors, with market research
  • local area profiles - guides to business support in 290 local areas in the UK.

What libraries offer young people

Last year we carried out an extensive survey across Sandwell, to find out what young people wanted from the Library Service.

Here are some of the things we have done as a result of listening to what you want:

  • We've increased the number of teenage fiction books
  • New XBox ONEs, Playstation 4s and 3D TVs
  • We are now on Facebook and Twitter
  • Free Wi-Fi is available in all libraries.

We'll be adding to this list later in the year, so watch this space.

  • We will also send out regular information to your schools and colleges about activities and events that you may be interested in.
  • You can also keep updated by signing up to our Facebook and Twitter accounts.

Every Summer we run a Reading Challenge to encourage young people to read for pleasure. This is aimed at children aged 4 to 11 years old.

Would you like to help us to inspire children to read and or help with the Summer activities?

If so, contact your local library for more details.

New eAudiobooks website

Library customers can now register for our brand new free eAudiobooks website. There are thousands of spoken-word audio titles to download and listen to on your favourite audio device such as MP3 players, smart phones, computers and more.

You can borrow items for up to 21 days, and renew them if necessary.

There are no limits to how many items you can borrow, and you will never be charged fines. You can also add items into a wish list for downloading later.

All you need to register and begin downloading is your library card number and an email address, and then complete the simple registration form.

Visit the Sandwell Library eAudiobooks website.

Black Country eBooks Service

Sandwell Library members can now use the Black Country eBooks Service to download and read ebooks.

All that is needed to login is a valid library card number, and the same password (PIN) that is used for our

Online Services website. If you don't already have a PIN, a member of library staff can create one for you.

There are thousands of titles to browse through and read. Each library customer can borrow up to 5 items, and also place reservations for items which count to your allowance. Items are loaned for 21 days, after which they become available to other customers.

You will need a supported Adobe DRM app to download the ebooks onto, such as a tablet computer, or a smartphone. Unfortunately, Amazon Kindles are not supported.

The site has a full help guide to assist you, with step-by-step instructions in how to use the service.