Learning with your library

Libraries have always been a great venue for self-guided learning or finding out about learning opportunities.

There are hundreds of books aimed at beginners in all sorts of topics, from arts and crafts, practical skills, languages, music and musical instruments

Remember reservations for books in Solihull libraries stock, whether on shelf or on loan, are free for all ages so you can get books sent to your local library free of charge. We don’t charge fines either.

Language courses on CD or MP3 are available to borrow for a small charge

Libraries also host self-organised learning groups, particularly for family history, and also reading groups.

We also run family history courses, but if you want to do your own research, free access to Ancestry, Find My Past, the British Newspaper Archive and the Genealogist are available in libraries.

Our wide range of online resources for in-library and home use also includes:

  • Theory Test Pro - the official Theory Test and Hazard Perception questions, and also training on motorcycles and other vehicles as well as cars
  • Oxford English Dictionary - the definitive record of the English language, with new words being added every quarter
  • Medici.tv - this collection of classical music, ballet, opera and more also contains masterclasses from notable performers and musicians

For use in libraries, the Access to Research Initiative - millions of free full-text journal articles normally only available to colleges and universities.

Computer courses

Several libraries run free sessions using Learn My Way with staff there to support your first steps with computing. As well as the basics on using a mouse, shopping and banking online and using email, it also includes a module on video calling such as Skype and Facetime.

It's available to anyone free on the Internet.

Local courses

The library’s Solihull Local Information Directory includes contact details for local social and special interest groups, including branches of the University of the Third Age and Solihull’s Friends in Retirement.

Details of local adult education courses are also available from Solihull College.

English as a second language courses are offered by Solihull College and are free of charge. If you are doing the British Council IELTS qualification, you can access free practice tests.

The charity Readeasy offers help with reading skills, one to one sessions are often hosted by libraries. 

Online learning

There are many free online courses available:

  • Open University and OpenLearn
    Hundreds of free online courses from OU tutors on a wide range of subjects, including languages
  • Open Culture 
    Courses and videos from world universities including notable lecturers such as Toni Morrison and Margaret Atwood. Also includes language courses
  • Google Digital Garage
    Free courses designed to help you with your business or career
  • EDX
    Over 3000 free courses from top universities and you can study with others online