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Library a warm space of welcome throughout festive season

A town centre library is going the extra mile during the festive season to ensure people have a safe and warm place to go.

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Pam and Michael Levy both said the Warm Spaces scheme was a wonderful idea

Central Library in West Bromwich is one of dozens of venues across Sandwell participating in the Warm Spaces scheme, which offers free, safe and supportive spaces for people to visit during the colder months.

The library, which is on the High Street, has been welcoming people into the Victorian-era building since the scheme started in November for a hot drink, a chance to read a book and chat with staff.

West Bromwich Central Library will be open throughout the festive period as a warm space

Library manager for Wednesbury Town Libraries Jackie Hawkins, who also manages Central Library, said there had been a significant increase in the number of people coming in to use the library.

She said: "We normally find that this time of year is a quiet time for libraries, but this year, we've found there's been an increase in the number of visitors and I think that's a direct result of the warm space.

"While it's hard to tell just how many we have here, we're having to constantly fill up the urns for the hot drinks and people are hanging on the door waiting for the hot water.

"We are non-judgemental here and welcome anyone who wants to come in and have a cup of tea and if they do want advice, they can speak to a member of the team."

The library will be taking a lead over Christmas and New Year by remaining open every day for people to come and visit, with Ms Hawkins saying it was nice to provide a safe and warm place for people to go to.

Jackie Hawkins said there had been a rise in the number of people accessing the library and the warm space

She said: "People need somewhere to go and libraries are that safe space where people know they will get a warm welcome.

"We've had tremendous feedback about the Warm Spaces, with plenty of families coming in and, in one instance, we had granny sitting watching the TV, children doing arts and crafts and mum and day picking out some books."

Among the people using the Warm Space were mother and son Pam and Michael Levy from West Bromwich, who had come in to look at some books, get a copy of What's On and enjoy a hot drink.

West Bromwich Library has kept the heating on over Christmas and New Year for everyone to enjoy a warm space

Both 64-year-old Pam and 38-year-old Michael said they thought the scheme was a great idea, saying it helped to create a warm and safe place for people to use.

Pam said; "I think it's a really good idea, especially over Christmas, for people who can't afford to heat their own homes and you feel safe when you come here.

"The staff are also really friendly and there's a great selection of books and hot drinks and if people are on their own at Christmas, it's a good place for them to go to."

Michael said: "It's such a great initiative to allow people to come and spend time in a friendly place and keep warm in the cold winter.

"It's got a great and very welcoming atmosphere when you come in here and plenty of facilities if people need to use a computer, so it's a great idea."

To find out more about the Warm Spaces open over the festive period in Sandwell, go to

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