Tuesday, 15 May 2012

New Library Opening Date Announced

By Ben Aulakh

Birmingham’s brand new £188.8 million library in on Centenary square will throw open its doors to the eager bookworms on Tuesday September 3 next year.

The city’s newest landmark will be formally handed over to the city council by contractors Carillion in April 2013.

The mammoth task of transferring an estimated 1.5 million books and 24 kilometres of shelves of precious archive and heritage collections will then begin.

Specialist moving contractor Nexus are expected to shift 1, 100 crates of books a day, every day, into the new building for three months.

However, a competition has been launched to give one lucky member of the public the chance to decide which of the tonnes of new books will be the first to make it onto the library’s shelves.

Anyone wanting to nominate a book can do so by sending a tweet on social networking site Twitter to @libraryofbham, using the hashtag #LoB1stbook, along with their thoughts on why their choice should be the first on the shelf.

All nominations will be posted on the Library of Birmingham's blog; the winner will get the chance to place their chosen tome in the new library in a special ceremony next year.

Councillor Mike Whitby, Leader of Birmingham City Council offered his thoughts on Centenary Square’s newest addition, “We are delighted to announce the public opening date for the highly anticipated world-class new library.

“Its opening will be a tremendous achievement for the city and will be a key hub for the region; we hope it will also put Birmingham firmly on the world stage as a major cultural destination.”

“This striking landmark building will be home to state-of-the-art facilities and will transform the concept we have of a library for the 21st century, and will be enjoyed by Birmingham's many communities and visitors to the city for years to come.”

Alongside the huge number of books the Library will also house the city's internationally important 6,000 or more archive collections, two million photographic stills, more than 150,000 items of music, and rare books.

Some of the most prestigious items in the collection include more than 8,000 rare books which were printed before 1700, such as a Shakespeare First Folio, and three perfect copies of Cordiale or the Four Last Thinges, printed in 1479 by William Caxton.

The Birmingham Repertory Theatre will also be moving to its new home, which it will share with the library, in September next year.

The REP’s new space will include a purpose built 300-seat auditorium, as well as enhanced back stage and public facilities.

Anyone wanting to explore the new library before it opens can go to birmingham.gov.uk/libraryofbirmingham/virtual.

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