Changes at Birmingham Central Library announced as final stages of preparations for move to Library of Birmingham get under way
With just 10 months to go until the opening of the £188.8 million Library of Birmingham on Tuesday 3 September 2013, the third phase of changes to the services at Central Library have been announced today. These changes are essential as final preparations for the new library get underway, including the huge task of packing and getting ready to move millions of books, archive and photographic items to the new Library of Birmingham in Centenary Square.
Changes to the current services at Central Library are:
• The archive search room will be closed after Friday 23rd November 2012, with no further physical access to the archive collections until the new Library opens on Tuesday 3 September 2013. Some material from the collections is available in digital format on the Birmingham City Council website, the new Library of Birmingham website (from mid-December) and the Connecting Histories, Digital Handsworth and Digital Ladywood websites.
• Extended Christmas closing at Central Library to allow for reconfiguration within the building, from 5pm on Saturday 22 December 2012 until 10am on Friday 4 January 2013 (apart from Reception, Tourist Information and Box Office located in the foyer – public holidays excepted).
• All floors from the third floor upwards will be closed from 4 January 2013, including Archives and Heritage, Information Services and Music. Business and Learning services on the first floor will also close from this date.
• There will continue to be a reduced library service available on the ground and first floors, with a basic lending library offer including children’s books and space to study. The Internet Centre will remain open as now.
• Central Library will close entirely after Saturday 29 June 2013, apart from Reception, Tourist Information and Box Office located in the foyer.
• The Library of Birmingham will open to the public on Tuesday 3 September 2013.
Brian Gambles, Project Director for the Library of Birmingham, says:
“The team at Birmingham Central Library has been working hard to prepare the Library’s collections for the move to the new building, but over the coming months even more effort will be required to pack and move millions of items and to ensure that Library of Birmingham is ready to open on time next September.
“We are pleased to have been able to keep services open at Central Library as long as we have. We recognise this next phase of closure will cause library users some disruption, but assure you that these changes are essential: moving Europe’s largest library is no mean feat, and we know that library users will be impressed and proud when our spectacular new Library opens on schedule in 2013.”
Carillion, principal contractor for the project, is on target to hand over the Library of Birmingham building to Birmingham City Council in April 2013. The gargantuan task of moving content from Central Library will see specialist move contractor Nexus transfer millions of items including books, music, archive and heritage resources, photographic images and rare books including Audubon’s Birds of America. It is estimated that 1,100 crates will be brought into the new Library every day for three months – a total of 66,000 crates in all. Placed end to end, the Library’s books would stretch from Birmingham to Edinburgh.
During this period of reduced service at Birmingham Central Library, there will be an extension of hours at four community libraries closest to the City Centre, in Spring Hill, Ward End, Erdington and Handsworth, helping to mitigate the difficulties for access to resources for children and young people in particular.
From mid-December the new Library of Birmingham website will also be available to access information about the collections and other resources. Some of the library’s archives have been digitalised for the first time, giving a taste of treasures including stunning material from the Shakespeare Library, the Parker Collection of Children’s Books and Games, the Early and Fine Printing Collection and the Railway Collection. There will be access to silent movie scores recently rediscovered at Central Library and to song sheets from the era of music hall and the First World War. Business resources will include a step-by-step guide to starting your own business as well as useful tools to help with CV writing and skills development. There will also be news and blogs about the hundreds of events that are taking place in libraries throughout the city.
To plan your visit to Central Library and keep up-to-date with these changes, go to www.birmingham.gov.uk/centrallibrary