This week we had a very enjoyable 90 minutes taking some fine local bloggers around the new Library of Birmingham – which opens next Tuesday.
One, Catherine Munyarari who blogs at Hands on Handsworth, was – well, wowed:
When a new public library starts someone thinking about where they might choose to study for a degree it does beg the question how else might it get people thinking.
Andy Mabbett, of the B44 Blog, looked round and he started thinking about long term archiving. The days before a library opens might be a small piece of history, so he added a set of picture to the wikimedia commons (a remarkable place where you can put media which others can use within constraints) see Library of Birmingham Interiors – before opening and a set of Views from the Library of Birmingham. Many of you will know that wikipedia is one of the first things that comes up when you google something – and many people search by images. So who knows what impact these collections may have on how people view Birmingham.
He also wrote a wikipedia article about one of the people we found there:
Francis Clarke – who blogs about many varied things, posted this set of pictures on Flickr, including this of Karen Strunks.
Karen shared this video:
Of Tom Epps talking about the curious new performance area.
Lol Thurstan has been running his local blog for Sheldon for the last few months (after learning how at a social media surgery). He’s written this fab post about his preview of the new library.
When I arrived to have to have a proper look at this building which has circular wire framing around the whole of the building, which is intended to highlight Birmingham’s famous jewellery industry, at the pinnacle of the building is a gold turret top. I was unsure whether I liked it, perhaps it was too modern for my liking; however, the more I looked at the more I started to like it.
Or take a look at Kerry Leslie’s strong images on the irrepressibly brilliant Created in Birmingham blog:
I really enjoyed walking around and seeing the new spaces. I especially liked the children’s library decorated with illustrations, the colour block book rotunda, and the rooftop terraces filled with fragrant flowers, which have already attracted lots of bees! There’s also a really good view of the Central Library from the new Library too.
Kerry is a fan of the Central Library – so visiting the new one would probably have been a little bitter (sweet?). She’s also written about the launch events coming up from next week. Other thoughts shared on twitter:
Thanks to Becky Bartlett for inviting us all and Tom Epps – Events manager at the Library – for his enthusiastic tour plus thanks to all those who joined us … any more stuff you share I’ll update here.
….that’s not even half of it – Each and every floor has the most wonderful array of seating, and nooks and holes inviting you to grab a book take a seat and loose yourself for and hour. There as 2 cafes, blue sky views from the ground floor ( no really), a host of activities for all ages and free wifi throughout.
If it sounds like I’m gushing it’s because I am!
I really did think it was a library suitable for the Birmingham of today, that people of all ages could use appriciate and take some joy in.
In a political climate in which public services are often disparaged and viewed of as merely a safety net for people who do not have any other options, the high quality of the new library gave me hope that citizens of Birmingham will continue to believe in the value of high quality, universal public services.
Deputy Leader of the Birmingham City Council, Ian Ward said that three and a half million visitors are expected every year and that the new library is a “once in a generation opportunity to change the physical, cultural and economic face of the city”.
Brian Gambles said they were concentrating on how the money invested into this library would help the 39 other libraries in the city and not treat them as outcasts while ensuring that connections with them are “strongly made and strongly felt”.
When asked about the opening hours of Stirchley Library on Bournville Lane being reduced, Brian said there was no direct link between the funding given to the central library and the cuts the community libraries were facing.
Good piece from Sharika Nambiar – her first for this doyen of hyperlocal sites.