You’re never too young to join the library!

FOLIO Sutton Coldfield will be holding a special morning of events aimed at getting the very youngest of Sutton Coldfield residents hooked on the reading bug by inviting all under 2s and their grown-ups to a variety of free events on Friday 4 May between 10am and 12midday.

A recent storytime run by FOLIO and Sutton Library staff

Drop-in messy play and baby story massage taster sessions will be running along side the chance to have a free photo shoot with a professional baby photographer . All babies/young children who join the library on the day will have the chance of winning prizes.

Zoe Toft, FOLIO Chair said:
There’s masses of evidence that shows the benefits of reading with your kids, and reading with them from as soon as they are born, including increased bonding (making parenting that little bit easier!) and boosting language skills. That said, when my eldest child was born, I didn’t know any of this, and certainly didn’t really know how to keep sane with a tiny one, but discovering books together, and how easy, stress-free and enjoyable it was to share a story was well and truly life-changing. I wasn’t always a reader; it was through having children and finding out how helpful and how fun sharing a story can be that I became a passionate advocate of books, and by extension of libraries, and so this event has real personal meaning for me.

Noran Flynn, FOLIO Trustee said:
FOLIO are consciously planning events for all ages and all types of library users. News of our special day for the very youngest of library users comes hot on the heels of announcing our monthly sessions to help library users trace their ancestors and a session for the over 50s to help us plan the sorts of events they would like to see in the library. We’re also actively working on plans for events for people with additional needs; if you would like to help us in formulating these plans, please do get in touch.

FOLIO look forward to seeing lots of brand new readers-to-be on Friday May 4. All activities are free and drop-in, though sign-up on the day will be needed for the photo shoots. If you’re coming for the event, why not consider also booking a table at our play-cafe, the Little Green Bookworm. You can book here:

A play co-ordinator from Sutton Coldfield Children’s Centres will be running drop-in messy play sessions tailored to 0-2 year olds, whilst an experienced trainer in baby massage will be offering taster sessions on combining stories and massage as ways to relax and calm your young child. Charlotte Christopher and will be taking photos on the day, emailing professional quality copies of the photos to participants to print off at home or through the service of their choice. Charlotte Christopher is a fully insured and a member of the Baby and Newborn Photography Association (BANPAS) who promote safe working practices in newborn and baby photography. She have been trained by the co-founder of BANPAS and treats the safety and comfort of babies being photographed by her as her absolute priority.

As well has having a wide selection of children’s books, Sutton Coldfield library also hosts a weekly toddler story time (Tuesdays, 10.30), and has a special collection for parents and carers featuring books “which might help”, covering a wide range of family and parenting topics.

Research your ancestors at Sutton Coldfield Library

FOLIO Sutton Coldfield is delighted to announce a new monthly event in Sutton Coldfield Library; on the third Wednesday of every month FOLIO will be facilitating a Family History Help Desk, with support from a genealogy expert with more than 30 years experience helping others research their families in the West Midlands and across the UK.

The free sessions, for which booking is recommended to guarantee a slot with our expert, have been set up by FOLIO following local consultation about the type of activities Sutton residents would like to see take place in our public libraries. Support and help with family history research has been one of the most frequently suggested activities and as such FOLIO is delighted to be able to make this happen. The first help desk will be on May 16, from 1-3pm and booking is already open. Queries about any aspect of family history research will be welcomed, whether relating to Sutton Coldfield families or those from across the UK.

Booking can be made online at

Jenny Wilkinson, FOLIO Trustee said:
Following hot on the heels of several very successful one-off events in Sutton Library since it reopened, we’re now very excited to announce our first on-going collaboration bringing a regular slot to help library users with their family history research. We know from our consultation activities that there are lots of people in Sutton who would like to find out more about their families’ ancestry and we hope that with the support of our fabulous volunteer from the Nuneaton & North Warwickshire Family History Society many Sutton residents will discover exciting and interesting stories about their family’s past.

Community groups come together to create a cake crawl!

FOLIO Sutton Coldfield proudly presents its latest initiative, made possible thanks to a grant from the West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner’s Active Citizens Fund: a leaflet highlighting a wide range of community cafés across Sutton Coldfield. This is a result of a collaboration between 11 different community cafés across Sutton Coldfield to highlight what they offer; not only a welcome place for a treat, but also a wide variety of services and support making Sutton Coldfield a better place to live and work.

Zoe Toft FOLIO Chair said:
Who doesn’t love a slice of cake and a cup of tea or coffee? It’s even better when you can catch up with friends (or make new ones) at the same time as supporting – and being supported by – your local community. That’s why FOLIO Sutton Coldfield, with its play-café Little Green Bookworm, has created this Community Cafés leaflet – to signpost many of the lovely places in Sutton Coldfield where you can support good causes and find out about different types of support available here on our doorstep.

The community cafe leaflets are being distributed across Sutton Coldfield, and will be available in each of the cafes featured:

Little Green Bookworm
The Art Cafe
Cafe Oasis
Carers Cafe
Community Cafe
Harvest Fields Community Cafe
Open Door
Place of Welcome and Art Cafe
St John’s Pantry
Tea and Coffee at Second Thoughts
The Coffee Tree

One of FOLIO’s key drivers is to be part of a movement to foster an even stronger sense of community in Sutton Coldfield and creating the leaflet is one small part of this bigger vision. You can download an electronic version of the leaflet HERE.

Noran Flynn, FOLIO Trustee said:
There are cafés listed raising funds for charity, there are cafés here run by volunteers and providing work opportunities for those who might find it hard to find employment elsewhere. There are cafés who are doing all they can to make Sutton Coldfield a more welcoming place by providing space for the community to come together for events and activities and we’re very grateful to the Active Citizens Fund for enabling us to spread the word about the good work all these community cafes are doing.. Why not create your own Cake Crawl and explore our town via the cafés featured here? Try out the cafes and let us know through Facebook or Twitter what you thought of your visit!

Jenny Wilkinson FOLIO Trustee and co-director of the Little Green Bookworm said:
There are so many great cafes doing their bit to make where we live better. At our very own Little Green Bookworm, not only do young families now have an amazing space to relax and play, every single cup of tea and slice of cake enjoyed ultimately helps support our much loved library.

Photo: Najm Clayton

Ben Birchall of Little Green Bookworm said:
We are delighted to be part of the Community cafe initiative and commend FOLIO for all their effort in bringing it together. Every day we see mums, dads, grandparents and children spending family time together, supporting each other and having fun, essential ingredients in sustaining community life!

Katie Hammond from the Art Cafe in the Direct Art Action Gallery said:
We are truly honoured to be included in the Community Café directory.  We feel that these welcoming community hubs are of such importance, helping to keep community spirit alive.  This leaflet highlights how many wonderful local and independent coffee shops there are in the area, so why not support yours on your next trip into town?

L-R: J ackie Donald (Coffee Tree Volunteer), Zoe Toft (FOLIO Chair) and Miriam Godridge (Coffee Tree Manager) celebrating the launch of the leaflet at The Coffee Tree, one of the cafés featured in the leaflet.

Miriam Godridge from The Coffee Tree at Duke Street Church said
We are really happy to be a part of this community cafe leaflet, working with FOLIO Sutton Coldfield who have done such a good job in pulling together all the different cafes in the community. It just highlights what there is available for the people of Sutton Coldfield, whether older or younger there is something for everyone to enjoy.