The Library of Birmingham has been designed to be as easily accessible as possible for all visitors. The Library's design team were assisted by input from the Birmingham Access Committee, who were involved throughout the design process.
'The Access Committee for Birmingham, in its role as a consultative body to the City Council on matters of physical access for people with disabilities, is deeply appreciative of its inclusion in the development of proposals for and during the construction of Birmingham’s latest landmark building, the Library of Birmingham. The Committee was involved from the earliest stages of design. Our members found the design team to be responsive to our comments and we feel sure that accessibility in the building was enhanced by this ongoing process. In particular the inclusion of a ‘Changing Places’ facility is a significant addition to city centre facilities for disabled people. The building reflects great credit on the city.'
Irene Wright MBE, Chairperson, Access Committee for Birmingham.
Shortly before it opened in September 2013, Birmingham Talking Newspapers' blind roving reporter Andy Causton visited the Library of Birmingham to find out more about what the Library has to offer. The audio article can be downloaded on this page.
Some of the key accessibility features of the Library of Birmingham are highlighted below and more information is available on the DisabledGo website.
Wheelchair and ambulant access
• Car parking for blue badge holders - 2 spaces at the rear of the Library on Cambridge Street
• Level access entry to front and back of building
• Doors open on an automated push button or sensor
• Lifts located close to the entrance and easily identifiable by the blue lobby walls easily identifiable
• Automated doors to the lift lobby (Please note that the doors to the Lower Ground Floor lift lobby do not open automatically. This is because of the close proximity to the Children's Library and the need to keep children safe).
• Mirrors in lifts for wheelchair reversing
• All manual opening doors meet opening resistance parameters
• Lower counter provided at Information Points
• Lower façade benching
• Platform lift to access Book Browse
• Changing Places room on lower ground floor. See Changing Places on the DisabledGo website. When the library is closed, there are alternative Changing Places facilities at the Bullring. It is proposed that a Changing Places facility will be included as part of the Grand Central development at New Street Station, due to open later this year.
• Studio Theatre has front seats and removable seats to pit to allow wheelchair access
• Children’s steps front row is accessible
• BFI Mediathequeue - one wheelchair-accessible booth
• Amphitheatre has wheelchair viewing on terrace in font of handrail
• Fire fighting evacuation lifts
• Wheelchair access through the turnstile in our services reception
• Colour contrast throughout the building has been carefully considered
• All glass has markings on it so that it is more easily seen
• Braille and embossed signs are used on toilets and lift lobbies throughout the building
• Audio information in lifts
• An audio guide, including a tour, is available for people with visual impairments. Please ask at the reception desk in the foyer
• Braille copies of the Visitor Guide are available from the reception desk in the foyer - please ask a member of staff
• Supernova is available on every computer. This is a specialist programme which is suitable for anyone with a visual impairment and offers a screen magnifier, screen reader and support for Braille displays
• Windows 7 has a range of tools to make access easier. These are available by selecting all programmes then accessories followed by accessibility
• Readit touch (a sophisticated desktop reading machine and magnifier) available on the Knowledge Floor (level 2)
• Clearview Speech (a table top machine which magnifies and reads aloud) available in the Children's Library
• Clear Reader + (a portable text reader, similar to Readit touch) is kept in the Children's library and can be used throughout the building
• Accessible keyboard for people who work better with large keys and bold colours are available in the Children's Library
• Large trackball mouse (makes controlling the pointer on screen easier) is available in the Children's Library
• Good selection of audio books and large print books
• Induction loops (for use by people with hearing aids) available at all staffed information desks and in the Studio Theatre
• Meeting rooms have infra red hearing enhancements systems, for which we can provide a pendant on request in advance