Birmingham City Council

Reader Development, Literacy and Creative Writing

Book cover -Borrowers Afloat

Subject Areas Covered

To make it easier to locate material, the Arts, Languages and Literature library uses the Dewey Classification system. This groups together subjects using a numbering system. The subject numbers for reader development, literacy and creative writing are :-

418 / 428 Literacy
801-807/809 Literary Theory, History and Criticism
808 Creative Writing
808.1 Poetry
808.2 Plays
808.3 Fiction
808.5 Speeches and Public Speaking
808.6 Letters
808.7 Comedy
808.8 Quotations and Anecdotes
809 Literary Genre e.g horror, western and dective novels

wild swans book

Specialist Material

The Library has a great range of specialist collections. There are a number collections that may be of interest -

War Poetry

There is also a large collection of Detective and Science Fictions novels.

Other sources of information

Information Leaflets accessible online -

Black and Asian British Dramatists
Black and Asian Fiction Writers
Black and Asian British Poets
Writers' Information Pack
Literature on Video -Please note ,service not currently available.
Creative Writing Groups

Menu of information leaflets available from the library and online.
Leaflets are also available covering the various collections.

You can also find out about Reading Groups in Birmingham Libraries

Biography and Information Files Card Index
- journals and newspapers articles are indexed for relevant articles including frequently asked for poems and recitations

Poetry Anthologies Index - an index to collections of Poetry arranged by subject.

Drama Index - An index of plays arranged by title.

Poetry Place -The Poetry Places are members of the The Poetry Society and Poetry Book Society and are recognised centres of excellence. A Poetry Place is an area in the library where poetry is collected together, and is dedicated to raising the profile of, and promoting the best of contemporary poetry.


As well as book material the section takes a range of journalscovering a variety of subjects. The following are the literature journals currently being taken.

Classical Quarterly

Essays in Criticism
Hudson Review
Literary Review
London Magazine
London Review of Books
New York Review of Books
Times Literary Supplement

Cambridge Quarterly
College English
Critical Quarterly
Critical Survey
ELH: Journal of English Literary History
English: the Journal of the English Association
Essays in Criticism
Hudson Review
Modern Fiction Studies

Nineteenth Century Literature
Notes and Queries
Review of English Studies
Studies in English Literature
Studies in the Novel

Books Ireland
Indian Horizons
Research in African Literatures
World Literature Today

Cannon Poet's Newsletter
Hudson Review

Milton Quarterly
Poetry Now Magazine
Poetry Review

Science Fiction:

Around the Globe
Folger Library Newsletter
Hamlet Studies
R.S.C Magazine
Shakespeare Bulletin
Shakespeare Newsletter
Shakespeare Quarterly

Writing Magazine

Suggested Websites:

We have compiled a list of web sites pertinent to the subjects covered in Arts, Languages and Literature section. For reasons of space our choices are very selective. We believe the sites chosen will be useful, reflecting the questions regularly posed by our users.

The list cannot hope to be definitive. We will listen to what people have to say about the chosen sites. We will consider recommendations, and may phase out sites, which are not used or superseded.

Please note We are not responsible for the content of other organisations' websites.

Creative Writing

SFWA is an American based organisation that offers help and advice with contract law and written contracts for writers of science fiction and fantasy. It may also be of interest to other writers in general.

International organisation of horror writers. Publishes a newsletter and issues e-mail bulletins giving you access to list of horror agents and bookstores to keep you up-to-date on all the industry information.

The Writers' Guild of Great Britain was established in 1958. Its mission, then as now, was to ensure that writers of all media are properly represented. For nearly half a century we have been ensuring that writers are properly paid and accredited. The nature of the media industry may have changed but our central philosophy has remained the same.

The idea behind Great Writing is simple; sign up, submit a piece of creative writing, and allow others to offer advice and constructive criticism. This is supported by a general discussion area where you can promote your work or ask questions about all aspects of writing and publishing.

One of Us provides a place for amateur and professional writers from around the world to share their creative writing hints, tips and advice.

Originally set up to help those over 50s they found that many requests came from Housebound-Disabled who could not attend their meetings so they setup, so they can all keep in touch. They now welcome Writers of all ages plus Disabled Groups and now cover all U.K. plus Overseas being read in over 60 plus Countries.

Web sites for Reading and Book Groups

Links to web sites, including -, Man Booker, Orange Prize, Whitbread Book Awards, Books Unlimited, The Bookseller, Crime Writers Association, plus online bookshops.

Reader Development

An inspirational and useful site for all book lovers. Includes literary related events, search facility for new releases, recommended novels, advice on setting up a reading group.

Websire of National Literacy Trust. Includes organisations, links, government initiatives, national literacy strategy and resources.

A site for people working in reader development. Well structured and easy to navigate.

An interactive site for children and young people. Encourages reading and writing development by publishing children's contributions on site and featuring books and authors.

This site provides links to reader development and reading group sites.

Site for choosing what to read by entering keywords, descriptive terms whereby a list of books is presented. There is a choice of plain screen or text only version.

Further Information

There is a lot of information available about the different library reading initiatives to find out more follow the link Reading and Writing Menu.

Find out about Stories from the Web. The website aims to promote reading to young people with the opportunity of having their own work displayed in a Gallery.

Check out the material available for loan in the Central Lending Library.

The majority of the material held in the Central Library is for use in the Libraryonly. The exceptions are the Central Lending Library, Music Services, Centre for the Child and the Learning Centre.

You can use the online Library Catalogue to help you locate material. Some items published before 1973 or that are in the Collections may not be listed in the online catalogue.

Most of the current material is available for browsing on the shelves in the Arts, Languages and Literature section on Floor 3 of Birmingham Central Library. Older or valuable items are held in a closed access store .


To consult certain particularly rare and valuable items you will need to book an appointment.

All our staff are pleased to help you with your enquiry which can be made in person, via telephone,fax, e-mail or letter. It is always advisable to contact us before you make a special journey.

Please note We are not responsible for the content of other organisations' websites.

Arts, Languages and Literature
Foreign Literature
Children's Literature
Literatures in English