Library of Birmingham
This is a Library open to the public in Birmingham, located at the west side of the City’s centre close to the Birmingham Rep. Immediately after opening on the 3rd of September, it took over the Birmingham Central Library and is worth over £188.8 million. The Birmingham City Council views it as a lead project for the city’s rebuilding as has been reported to be the biggest public Library in the whole of UK, biggest public cultural site in Europe as well as the biggest zonal Library. They had received over 2 million visitors by 2014, making them the 10th most renowned attraction site in the United Kingdom.
The Library ought to have been relocated many years by the Birmingham City Council as the initial plan was to construct a new Library at the developing Eastside District which was opened up to the city after the destruction of Masshouse Circus. However, due to financial constraints and concerns about the location, the plan wasn’t executed. The Council adviced that the Library be set between Baskerville House and the Rep Theatre (the aim was to build a top-tier monumental civic building) which till 2009 was a public parking space and confirmed it to be the prospective site in August 2006. Capita Symonds was then appointed as the Project Manager.
A shortlist of seven architects announced in March 2008 were singled out from a list of 100+ architects following an international design competition. Architects chosen include Hopkins Architects, Mecanoo, OMA, Foster and Partners, Wilkinson Eye etc. An elaborate plan for the Library was disclosed by the council together with the architects at a launch ceremony in 2009. The former Central Library for the second time was not prominent enough to be listed and work began to bring down the building in early 2015.
The plan for the Library was well accepted. In its first year of launching, over 2 million people visited but this dropped to 1.8 million as at 2015, though, still making the Library the 11th most visited attraction site in the UK as well as the most prominent outside London.
Clearing the grounds for construction and excavatory works had already started before the building plan was granted. Planning permission was eventually permitted and passed by the City Council in Birmingham.
The Library of Birmingham was formally opened in September 2013 by the Pakistani Schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai who escaped from an assassination attempt and currently resides in Birmingham. It was announced as the best building of the year in West Midlands at the RIBA West Midlands Award in 2014 and was proposed to be part of the six-shortlisted monuments for the 2014 Stirling Prize.
The Library opens between the hours of 11 to 4pm from Monday to Saturday and remains closed on Sundays, but it is temporarily closed.
The Library offers its membership services for free.
309 Broad Street
Phone number – 01212 424242
See other tourist attractions in Birmingham like National SEA LIFE Center Birmingham