Birmingham & Black Country

Birmingham library's opening date announced

Birmingham's new £189m library will open on 3 September, 2013.

The new building, in Centenary Square, replaces the Birmingham Central Library in Chamberlain Square.

The public is being asked to nominate the first book to be placed on the new Library of Birmingham's shelves, in a competition being run on Twitter.

The present library was once described by Prince Charles as looking like "a place where books are incinerated, not kept".

The REP theatre will also reopen to the public in Centenary Square in September 2013.

'Tremendous achievement'

Councillor Mike Whitby, leader of Birmingham City Council, said the opening of the new "landmark" library would be a "tremendous achievement" for the city.

Image caption Councillor Whitby described it as "striking landmark building"

"We are enormously proud of everyone who is helping to deliver the project on time and under budget," he added.

Mr Whitby said: "It will be a key hub for the region and, with its many partners, will place Birmingham firmly on the world stage as a major cultural destination."

He said they were expecting three million people to visit the new library each year with millions more using online facilities to access the collections.

Retired teacher, Gillian Griffiths from Birmingham, said she really liked the look of the new library.

"I think probably to me it looks as if it's supposed to be piles of books and I think the metalwork on the side perhaps reflects the Jewellery Quarter," she said.

'Very original'

Twenty-two-year-old Monica Leon, who is from Spain and studying in Birmingham, thought the building was "very original".

Image caption Gillian Griffiths thought the new library looked "really nice"

Mark Walkem, 23, said he had seen the plans for the interior of the library and "with the atrium in the middle, that looks really nice".

"To be investing in intellectual resources is a good thing, particularly as students I think we appreciate that," he added.

The project has also included a refurbishment and extension to the REP theatre which will be linked to the library and will reopen in September 2013.

The theatre's executive director Stuart Rogers said they were producing work at other venues in the city whilst the theatre was closed.

He said: "That's all going fine and we like that but we're all hugely looking forward to getting back in the building, because there's nothing like having your own building and producing all the work in there."

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