The Library of Birmingham will be a major new cultural destination, rewriting the book for 21st century public libraries. It opens on 3 September 2013 in Centenary Square, Birmingham City Centre.
Rewriting the Book means redefining the purpose of libraries in the 21st century, by creating a world-class library that is highly responsive to need in a rapidly changing world. It means transforming the way libraries will work in the future, transforming Birmingham and transforming people’s lives.
The Library of Birmingham will provide a showcase for the city’s internationally important collections of archives, photography and rare books. New facilities including state-of-the-art gallery space and digital technology will open up public access to the collections. It will also be home to a BFI Mediatheque, providing free access to the National Film Archive. Other facilities will include a new flexible studio theatre, an outdoor amphitheatre and other informal performance spaces, a recording studio, and dedicated spaces for children and teenagers. By harnessing new technology, everyone from Birmingham to Beijing, Bangalore and beyond will be able to access the Library of Birmingham’s world-class resources. More than three million visitors are expected each year, and millions more online.
Described by its architect Francine Houben as a ‘people’s palace’, the Library of Birmingham will be highly accessible and family-friendly. It will deliver excellent services through collaboration between the library, The Birmingham Repertory Theatre (the REP), partners and communities. It will provide a dynamic mix of events, activities and performance together with outstanding resources, exhibitions and access to expert help for learning, information and culture. As a centre of excellence for literacy, research, study, skills development, entrepreneurship, creative expression, health information and much more, the Library of Birmingham will change lives.