Virtual reference library
We subscribe to major online information resources so that you can use them free of charge, at home, at work or in the library, at any time of day or night. All you need is your library card number. If you are not a member, then find out how to join. Joining online will give you immediate access to all of these resources.
Enquire - Ask a Librarian?
Your questions answered in real time by real people
Enquire is a worldwide online enquiry service where you can chat with trained librarians in the UK, (or after 5pm, the USA) to get an answer to your question. You can also receive replies by email.
Solihull Libraries is one of over 50 UK library services participating in the national People's Network Enquire Service. It works like instant messaging or chat room technology, where you put your question to a real person, just as if you were talking to them face to face or on the telephone.
The service is free, anyone can use it and you can ask your question day and night, every day of the year.
Ask a question using Enquire
Very Short Introductions
10 online books, clear and readable introductions to Twentieth Century Britain, British Politics, Drugs, Contemporary Art, History, Management, Mathematics, Nutrition, The Earth, and Planets.
To access Very Short Introductions enter your library card number with SLP in capital letters and without spaces.
Free access to research guides on Victorian Literature and British and Irish Literature.
To access Oxford Bibliographies enter your library card number with SLP in capital letters and without spaces.
COBRA - Complete Business Reference Advisor
COBRA is the UK's most comprehensive business reference resource for start ups and established small businesses.
- business opportunity profiles - over 700 business start-up profiles and guides to business start-up ideas
- business information factsheets - how to's 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
To access COBRA enter your library card number with SLP in capital letters and without spaces.
A comprehensive guide to Universal JobMatch and Universal Credit, along with information on job hunting, including CVs/covering letters, applying and form filling, interviews and starting work.
To access the site visit Universal Skills.
Life in Great Britain
Life in Great Britain is an online study resource for candidates preparing for the Life in the UK Test or British citizenship test. The service includes an online version of the latest official study materials licensed from the Home Office, the people who write the handbook, plus hundreds of practice test questions in the same format as the official test.
To access Life in Great Britain enter your library card number with SLP in capital letters and without spaces.
First Steps on your computer
If you or someone you know wants to learn how to use a computer, then First Steps can help you. It shows you all about how computers work, how to use the keyboard and mouse, how to organise files and also how to use the Internet; if you’re working through the course, you can save your place.
To access First Steps enter your library card number with SLP in capital letters and without spaces.
Oxford English Dictionary (OED)
The OED is the world's most authoritative guide to the meaning, history and pronunciation of more than half a million words, tracing their usage through 2.5 million quotations. Now with features including timelines, the Historical Thesaurus of the OED, and more search options.
To access the Oxford English Dictionary enter your library card number with SLP in capital letters and without spaces.
Oxford Dictionaries Pro has a current English dictionary and thesaurus and can also be accessed online, enter your library card number with SLP in capital letters and without spaces.
Oxford Reference Online
More than 100 reference works from Oxford University Press, fully indexed and cross-searchable.
To access the Oxford Reference Online enter your library card number with SLP in capital letters and without spaces.
Theory Test Pro
Theory Test Pro is a highly realistic online simulation of the UK's driving theory test, for cars, motorcycles, large goods vehicles, and passenger carrying vehicles. It contains the entire official test question bank, hazard perception video clips and an online version of the Highway Code. All this material is licensed from the Driving Standards Agency (DSA), the people who set the tests.
When you first use Theory Test Pro, you will need to register with your name, email address and password. This information allows Theory Test Pro to save your test scores so you can follow your progress as you practice for the test. There is no charge to access Theory Test Pro.
To access Theory Test Pro enter your library card number with SLP in capital letters and without spaces.
UK Press Online
This online archive provides copies of the Daily Mirror from 1903 to date, the Daily Express from 1900 to date, and also contains a collection of World War 2 papers, including the Yorkshire Post, Daily Worker and the Blackshirt, an excellent source for research.
To access UK Press Online enter your library card number with SLP in capital letters and without spaces.
Available in libraries only
Access to Research
Available now, free online access to over 10 million articles and conference proceedings, many with full text, from over 8,800 journals, including Health and Biological Sciences, Engineering and many more subjects from major publishers. Only available for access within libraries.
Ancestry Library Edition
Free access from all library PCs to one of the most useful websites for UK and International resources to help you trace your family tree.
Ancestry includes: census returns 1841-1911 for England, Wales, Scotland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man; indexes to births, marriages and deaths in England & Wales 1837-2005; First World War service records, pension records and medal rolls; lists of ships’ passengers arriving in the UK 1890-1960; indexes to wills 1861-1941.
Find My Past
Free access from PCs in all Solihull Libraries to records including: 1911 census for England & Wales; overseas indexes to births, marriages and deaths 1961-1994; lists of ships’ passengers leaving the UK 1890-1960.
Our community edition of Find My Past does not include access to the ‘Living Relatives’ records.
(See our Business Information Service for more information)
MINT is an excellent source for mailing lists, and B2B research.
Over 5.5 million UK companies are listed including over three million active companies. Mailing lists can be created using a range of criteria including postcodes and other geographical areas, turnover, type of business, and number of employees. You can plot the company structure including shareholders, subsidiaries and corporate groups.
Information available includes:
- contact details with phone number and web address if available
- financial data for 3 years, and analyses/ratios for the company
- credit scores and ratings
- director and other contact details which link directly to their LinkedIn profiles
- shareholder and ownership data
- access to Companies House documents
Mint UK also provides access to a wealth of information on directors including: date of birth, address, current and previous directorships and in some cases, biographical information. If you want more information on how to obtain mailing lists or other information please contact us. Charges are applicable for some services.
FAME stands for Financial Analysis Made Easy, and contains information on 3.4 million UK companies, with detailed financial information for 2.4 million of these.
Reports available include:
- contact information, in some cases with web and email addresses
- full profit and loss and balance sheets
- cash flow and ratios
- financial trends and changes
- credit scores and ratings
- director and shareholder details
- details of senior staff
- access to Companies House documents including annual returns
You can also do more analysis by creating your own ratios.
If you want more information on how to obtain mailing lists or other information please contact us. Charges are applicable for some services.
You can access the Which? website as well as a two-year archive of reports, the site contains up to the minute buying guides. Available to use on computers at every library, just ask staff for assistance.
Which? are a consumer rights group who have been offering independent advice and campaigning on behalf of consumers for more than 50 years.
Business information only available at Solihull Central Library
The online service of the Moneyfacts journal contains:
- market mortgage sourcing
- life quotations
- loans and cards searches
- statistics such as the Retail Price Index since 1948