Birmingham & Black Country

Malala Yousafzai to open £188m Library of Birmingham

An image grab taken from handout video footage released by the Malala Fund on April 5, 2013
Image caption Malala Yousafzai will place her copy of The Alchemist by Paolo Coelho in the library

A teenager shot in the head by the Taliban for championing women's rights has been given the honour of opening the new £188m Library of Birmingham.

Malala Yousafzai will unveil a commemorative plaque during a ceremony in Centenary Square on Tuesday.

The 16-year-old was attacked by Taliban gunmen on a school bus near her former home in Pakistan in October.

She was treated at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham and now lives in the city.

She said she was "honoured" to be part of the opening ceremony.

'Opportunity to succeed'

She added: "The content of a book holds the power of education and it is with this power that we can shape our future and change lives.

"There is no greater weapon than knowledge and no greater source of knowledge than the written word.

"It is my dream that one day, great buildings like this one will exist in every corner of the world so every child can grow up with the opportunity to succeed."

Malala will place her copy of The Alchemist by Paolo Coelho in the library - the last book to go on the shelves. She will then receive membership to access the archive.

The teenager was targeted by the Taliban after campaigning for girls' rights to go to school. It was in part of the country where Islamic fundamentalists were trying to impose a strict form of Sharia law.

She has since been awarded the Tipperary International Peace Award and the International Children's Peace Prize.

Earlier this year she signed a deal worth about $3m (£2m) to publish her story.

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