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The Icebook

Box of Light Weekend

A weekend of events in and around the Library of Birmingham

25 - 27 October, Library of Birmingham and The REP

Guidance: Everyone welcome

Children and Families, Discovery Season, General

Book Online


Before the days of film, the magic lantern was an important source of entertainment, using glass slides to create moving images and visual tricks. Birmingham played a key role in this pre-cinema world, producing thousands of lanterns for export, leading to the birth of the flipbook, and eventually the cinema.

The Library boasts a hefty archive of 60,000 lantern slides, and to coincide with the Magic Lantern Society’s annual conference in Birmingham, Flatpack Festival presents Box of Light, a Weekend full of events, workshops and activities celebrating early cinema.
Flatpack festival’s creative director; Ian Francis, explains why they chose Box of Light for the Discovery Season:  “While digital technology has transformed our world, the simple magic of optical illusions can still surprise and delight, and it’s striking how many artists and filmmakers continue to be inspired by this period. Given the Library’s own extensive collection of lantern slides, it’s the perfect home for Box of Light.”
The weekend will feature:
(all events take place in the Library of Birmingham or Rep unless otherwise stated)
22 - 27 October in the Pavilion at the Library of Birmingham

Optical Toys Workshop Join us in making amazing moving images!
Saturday 26 and Sunday 27 October, Mezzanine Floor.  From 11am
25 October
7.30pm - 9.30pm, Studio Theatre
Tickets £8 Book tickets for Box of Light Variety Show online
Birmingham De Lux
26 October 11am and 1.30pm. Meet at Pavilion in Library foyer
Tickets: £5 Book tickets for Birmingham De Lux online

Show and Tell with Roderick MacLachlan. Rod will be using modified OHPs and slide projectors to create uncanny and magical effects.
26 October 2pm - 4pm Room 103 Free

The Ascent of Mont Blanc  Mike and Theresa Simkin will be showing a unique set of extremely large, hand-painted Victorian magic lantern slide.
3pm - 3.45pm Saturday 26 October Room 104

Mitchell and Kenyon in Birmingham.  Films of Birmingham in the early 1900s
27 October 12 - 4pm, Beat Box, Lower Ground Floor
The Icebook

26 October 12pm - 5pm, performances on the half hour / Room 102
Tickets: £5 Book tickets for The Icebook online

Magic in Motion: The Library’s Story Steps become a little cinema for the weekend
26 and 27 October 12noon - 4pm
Do-it-yourself Magic Lantern Slides Free drop-in sessions in the Children's Library
26 October 11am - 1pm and 2 - 4pm
Magic Lanterns: the Birmingham Connection A short talk by Pete James
26 October 4pm - 4.45pm Room 104
27 October 11am - 4pm  Free workshop in the Children's Library
Box of Light, in collaboration with Birmingham REP have commissioned two artists to make brand new work. Both are FREE and will run on Friday 25 and Saturday 26 October.

Professor Harry Hackett 's Box of Treats  Little Earthquake sends you off on a treasure hunt around the theatre foyer.
Friday 25 to Sunday 27 October, The REP foyer

Ben Pacey Presents Professor Peregrine's Illustrated History of Bearmingham
25 - 27 October, 10am - 8pm, REP foyer


Oct 2013
Fri 25 7:30pm Library of Birmingham, Studio Theatre Book Online
Sat 26 12:00pm Library of Birmingham, Studio Theatre Book Online
Sun 27 11:00am Library of Birmingham, Studio Theatre Book Online


Map to venue

Library of Birmingham

Address: Library of Birmingham, Centenary Square, Broad Street, Birmingham B1 2ND

Tel: 0121 242 4242 (Monday to Friday, 10am-5pm)

Opening Hours

Monday to Friday  8am - 8pm
Saturday  9am - 5pm
Sunday  11am - 4pm 

Wolfson Centre for Archival Research (Floor 4)

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday 10am - 5pm
Thursday 10am - 8pm
Saturday 10am - 4pm 

Getting here

Train: the Library is about 10-15 minutes walk from New Street Station and 15-20 minutes from Snow Hill Station. Moor Street and Five Ways are further away but still within walking distance. For more information call National Rail on 08457 11 41 41. If you are using a text phone, dial 18001 first to activate Typetalk.
Bus: Many bus services stop close to the Library on Broad Street including: 1, 9, 10, 22, 23, 24, 29, 29A, 120, 126, 127, 128, 129, 140, 141. For journey planning please call Network West Midlands on 0871 200 22 33 (Bus and Metro only). Lines are open Monday to Saturday 7.30am to 8pm and on Sunday 10am to 6pm.
Cycle: there are plenty of cycle racks in front of the Library on Centenary Square. For information on cycle routes in the city, visit or
Car: Birmingham is easily reached via the M5, M6, M40 and M42. Follow signs to Birmingham City Centre and the ICC. From the South-West (M5), leave the motorway at Junction 3, follow the A456 towards the city centre. From the South (M40), South-East (M6) East (M69), or North-East (M42) follow the M6 to Junction 6, then the A38 towards the City Centre. From the North-West (M6) or West (M54) follow the M6 either to Junction 7 then the A34 towards Birmingham City Centre.
Parking: there is no parking available at the Library – public car parks can be found nearby at Cambridge Street and the NIA.
Disabled parking: there are two bays for Blue Badge holders on Cambridge Street directly behind the Library on The REP side. Access to the front entrance is along the covered walkway on the east side of the Library leading onto Centenary Square. Further bays are available in the Paradise Circus multi-storey car park on Cambridge Street.
Taxis: There is a taxi rank across the road outside the Hyatt Regency Hotel on Broad Street. 

Facilities and Access

Getting around

The Library of Birmingham is designed to be highly accessible to all. Getting around the building is easy, with a step-free entrance and lifts to all floors, in addition to ramps, escalators, travelators and stairs.


Toilets are available on every floor.

Toilets for people who are disabled

These are marked on the floor plans, which indicate whether the toilet is positioned for transfer from wheelchair to seat from the left or the right.

Changing Places

A Changing Places facility is available on the lower ground floor.

Parent and baby

Parent and baby rooms with changing and feeding facilities are available on the lower ground floor. Changing facilities are also available on levels 1 and 3. The Library is breast feeding-friendly throughout. Comfortable seating is available on every floor in the lounge areas.

Prams and buggies

Prams and buggies can be parked in the designated area on the ground floor. Please note that for the safety of your child and others, we do not allow prams and buggies on the escalators or travelators. 
For their safety, children should be accompanied by a parent or carer whilst in the building, including in the Children’s Library.


Lockers are available on every floor - £1 coin required.


WiFi is available throughout the building. This is free to use, with access to additional resources for Library members.

Induction loops

Induction loops to amplify speech for people with hearing aids are fitted at all staffed information desks in the building and in the Studio Theatre. If requested in advance, we can also provide induction loops in our meeting rooms.  

Eating and Drinking

The Library Café on the ground floor serves a range of quality eat-in and takeaway food made from British ingredients, simply prepared and changing seasonally. Extra seating is available on the mezzanine level, overlooking Centenary Square. The Discovery Café on floor 3 is also open during peak times, with a selection of freshly prepared deli sandwiches and hot and cold beverages.
You are welcome to bring your own refreshments into the Library, but we ask you please only to consume these in the Lounge areas on each floor. Vending machines for cold drinks and snacks are also available in the Lounge areas.
Please use the recycling bins provided for your rubbish. This helps us to keep the Library clean and tidy for the comfort of all our visitors. 


The Library Shop on the ground floor offers a range of quality, unique gifts and souvenirs of your visit to the Library of Birmingham and the city, at prices to suit all pockets.

Tourist and Travel Information 

Birmingham’s only city centre Tourist Information Centre is located on the ground floor of the Library, offering information and tickets for visitor attractions and travel in the city and region.
There is a dedicated Travel Information Point in the Library foyer where you can check timetables and the latest travel information online. 

Pre-bookable Library tours

Tours are available for groups and individuals, and must be pre-booked. More information about tours and group visits here soon. 

Events and Exhibitions 

Look out for our programme of events, exhibitions and activities. Details of what’s on at the Library of Birmingham and how to book are available by clicking on What's Happening above and in the Library. 


The BOX is open 10am - 8pm Monday to Saturday (10am -6pm when there is no evening performance) for booking and collecting tickets for Library events and shows at The REP.

Library Rooms and Spaces for Hire

We have a varied range of meeting and event spaces available for hire, from the 300-seat Studio Theatre and meeting rooms, to the historic Shakespeare Memorial Room and Middle Earth, our children’s activity rooms. Click on the link for everything you need to know about Room Booking.

The Green Library

The Library of Birmingham has an important role to play in cutting carbon emissions in the city and the building has been designed to minimise the impact on the environment.
Environmentally friendly features include the use of low carbon technology for heating and cooling, low energy lighting and water conservation systems.
The Library recycles all used materials including paper and plastic – please use the special bins provided.
The two elevated garden terraces – the Discovery Terrace on level 3 and The Secret Garden on level 7 – provide green spaces in the heart of the city. They are planted with a variety of species to provide colour and interest throughout the year. This includes fruit, vegetables and herbs on the Discovery Terrace to provide a focal point for learning about where food comes from and encouraging ‘grow your own.’
In front of the Library, around the Amphitheatre in Centenary Square, an annual wildflower meadow has been planted (part of a wildflower trail in the city centre’s Westside). The best time to enjoy the wildflowers is between July and October. Together with the brown roof (covered in rubble from the construction of the Library), these features provide new habitat for wildlife.
The Library of Birmingham was awarded BREEAM ‘Excellent’ status in 2013. BREEAM is the national standard against which the environmental sustainability of new buildings is measured.


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Sat 20 September 2014, 11:00am

Word Up!

Word Up!

Tue 30 September 2014, 10:00am

Zinio - online magazines

Latest magazines - online!

Download the latest magazines in the library, at home or on the move.