The Library of Birmingham, the biggest public library in Europe opened on 3 September and is expected to attract over three million visitors each year. The library was designed by Dutch artists, Mecanoo and contains a world-class collection of photography as well as over a million printed volumes. One of the great attractions for visitors here is that around 400,000 of these will be accessible to the public. Part of Birmingham’s 20-year Big City plan, this library is a fantastic addition to the city and will be of benefit to those who live here and tourists alike.
The library has ten levels as well as an outdoor amphitheatre, two outdoor garden terraces, a viewing gallery where visitors can appreciate a panoramic view of the city and children’s outdoor spaces. It also contains a 300-seat studio theatre making the library a potential cultural hub providing space for the arts.
Tourists to Birmingham should definitely make a point to visit the library. Along with its top grade facilities, Birmingham Library also features the world’s largest Shakespeare collection, the Parker Collection of Children’s Books and Games, the Boulton and Watt archive and the Early and Fine Printing Collection making it a book lover’s paradise. Many of these items are kept secure in the ‘Golden Box’ archive section of the library but there are plans to make these unique collections available to the public through the use of digital technology.
Shakespeare fans will no doubt appreciate the Shakespeare Memorial Room which is located above the Golden Box. This memorial room was carefully reconstructed using wood panelling and glass cabinets from the original Victorian.
If you are a fan of photography and film, you’ll be interested to know that Birmingham Library houses one of nine national collections of photography. This collection includes the Val Williams archives, items from Magnum Photos, the celebrated photographic cooperative and three major exhibitions from Brian Griffin, the internationally renowned photographer. It is also home to a BFI Mediatheque allowing visitors to view highlights of the national film collection through use of a viewing station.
For those who are considering a trip to Birmingham to take in this spectacular library, why not arrange an overnight stop at Hotel La Tour? This luxurious 4-star hotel is located in the city centre and is a 20 minute walk away from Birmingham Library making it an excellent choice for anyone making a trip to the city.