Carol Pemberton, one of the Faces of the Library of Birmingham, is the founder of the UK’s leading female a capella quintet, Black Voices. This year, Black Voices celebrate their 25th anniversary, and Carol was interviewed by Karen Gabay from BBC Manchester’s The People on November 24. They discussed the success of the group, their musical influences and Carol’s enthusiasm for the Birmingham Central Library archives, soon to be housed in the new Library of Birmingham.
One of ten children, Carol started using libraries from a very young age as a place to get some peace and quiet and access books that were in good condition, as Carol’s books often came from jumble sales and had pages missing. Carol decided to become a Face of The Library of Birmingham because of her life-long love of libraries. She’s excited about the new Library, particularly the performance spaces, which she thinks will be a great attraction.
In her interview with Karen, Carol also spoke about how she used Birmingham Central Library as she got older, when she was researching for Black Voices. Carol found the Central Library archives invaluable and spent a lot of time at the library: ‘I spent many hours, happily up there just trawling through unheard music’. Karen is also an archive enthusiast, and agreed that library archives are close to her heart too.
When the Library of Birmingham opens in September 2013, it will provide a showcase for the city’s internationally important collections of archives, photography and rare books. New facilities including state-of-the-art gallery space and a new website will open up public access to the collections for the first time. Carol is keen to promote the Library’s archives, and said in her interview: ‘Libraries hold resources that a lot of people don’t even know about’, and is grateful that the Birmingham Central Library archives were able to provide archive footage that she couldn’t have got hold of anywhere else.
As well as influencing their performance work, the Library of Birmingham archives have also been useful to Black Voices in their education outreach programmes.