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13 November 2014

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You are in: Birmingham > Places > Buildings > New library plans unveiled

New library plans unveiled

Plans for Birmingham's new multi-million pound library have been revealed. The £193 million development will be built in Centenary Square and open in 2013.

The Library of Birmingham

The Library of Birmingham

The Library of Birmingham will occupy a prime site on Centenary Square between the Birmingham Repertory Theatre (The REP) and Baskerville House and is a major flagship for the regeneration of the city which will create 250 new jobs including 25 apprenticeships.

Bigger and better

At 31,000 sq metres The Library of Birmingham which will be integrated with The REP at ground floor and mezzanine levels will provide 20% more space than the existing Birmingham Central Library and be capable of taking up to 10,000 visitors a day, doubling the current figure of almost 5000 per day.

The transparent glass building is wrapped in a delicate metal filigree inspired by the city’s rich traditions of craftsmanship and industry. The shared entrance to the Library and the REP will be sheltered below a public balcony, creating a space to watch events in the square. Above the balcony, the building volume steps away, creating a second open-air space, an elevated garden with spectacular views over the city.

A grand circular open-air amphitheatre in front of the building will create a dramatic visual link between the library at lower ground level and Centenary Square, providing natural light and a sheltered outdoor space for staging events.

Mike Whitby, Leader of Birmingham City Council said, "Despite the global economic slowdown, demand for and confidence in Birmingham has never been higher. The new Library of Birmingham will be an iconic landmark, and a testament to the role Birmingham will play in the 21st century as a truly global city."

The new building  will provide increased space and improved climatic conditions for storage of the library’s world famous archives, including rare treasures such as the Shakespeare First Folio of 1623 and JJ Audubon’s Birds of America, one of the world’s largest books. 

The Libaray of Birmingham

Impression of the library in Centenary Square

Memory and identity

Brian Gambles, Assistant Director of Culture, Birmingham City Council said: "Libraries represent the memory and identity of a city. Today, as a global city, Birmingham needs its new library to encapsulate its soul, its optimism and its rich culture and to meet the demands of a progressive library service for all."

The Library of Birmingham development is a flagship project of the Big City Plan,
focusing on the regeneration of the city, the most far-reaching city centre
development project ever undertaken in the UK.

The Big City Plan will drive forward the next 20 years of development in central Birmingham to revive and open up whole areas of the city with a £17 billion investment and the aim of creating 43,000 jobs for Birmingham people. Construction work will start on site in 2010.

Get involved and have your say

The city’s aim is to create a welcoming and accessible building, suitable for users of all ages and interest and there will be an opportunity for local people to get involved with shaping how the new building will look and feel inside with a series of focus group sessions over the coming months.  

Public consultation on the concept designs will run from mid-April through to mid-May with an exhibition at Central Library and online at There will be an opportunity for the public to have their say either in person, online or by pre-paid postcards.

last updated: 02/04/2009 at 13:06
created: 02/04/2009

Have Your Say

The BBC reserves the right to edit comments submitted.

Mike Brittain
the proposed new library looks out of place far to modern should be built to enhance Baskerville house etc

Claire Salisbury
Please could every care be taken to keep the carbon emissions of this building as low as possible?Everywhere, in every walk of life, we need to drastically reduce carbon emissions starting now. Thank you.

Not only is the design horrible but the location of the library is wrong aswell. I prefered the earlier design that was earmarked for the digbeth area as it was more modern and pleasant to the eyes. This design, am afraid, will be an eyesore and will make the square look ugly aswell. The location will hamper the accessibility to the facilities. If the planners where not regenrating the digbeth area then they should have kept the library on the site that it is today.

Jennifer Ellis
The new library looks absolutely spectacular,well done to all those involved.I love my city,it has the impressive buildings of the ICC,the Town Hall,the Bull Ring Shopping Centre,newly refurbished Town Hall,and now another impressive piece of architecture.This city has so much to be proud of,our theatres are really something,and everything is so accessible. Although we're in an economic downturn,Birmingham as always moves forward.

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