Library of Birmingham Blog 11

By on 24/09/2010 in Blog

gamblesHead of Birmingham Libraries Service Brian Gambles with the latest in a series of blogs looking at the exciting £193million Library of Birmingham project.

Spent a fascinating hour on Friday on an in-depth tour of the library site, boots, gloves, goggles, hard hat and jacket…work is proceeding incredibly well and the library is really taking shape. Over 120 construction workers on site now, a wonderfully complex operation and concrete being poured, set and reinforced at an amazing rate.

The ground floor slab is in place, and the shape - and scale – of the rotunda and interior terraces on the Lower Ground Floor is very apparent. Organisation and discipline on site is tremendous, health and safety precautions are observed to the letter and the spirit.

Several people have commented that they have never experienced a better organised site - real tribute to Carillion. The tour brought it all to life for me, so I can start to visualise some of the activity that will be happening in just 3 short years.

A great evening on Wednesday at The Studio, courtesy of the Birmingham Salon and CILIP West Midlands, debating the purpose of libraries with local writer Andy Killeen and around 70 guests. Stimulating discussion, and the enthusiasm for debate around the value and contribution of reading and learning to a civilised society was immensely heartening.

Lots of views across the spectrum, about the book as a physical object - an object we all share a great deal of affection for, fascinating to speculate about its long-term future, which of course none of us will be controlling.

The book, for as long as it lasts, will be at the heart of the library, but the library needs to deal in the currency of memory, knowledge and ideas.

Several other interesting discussions to report on - presentations to the Cathedral Close Breakfast Club, to a Breakfast event organised by Marketing Birmingham for the hospitality and leisure sector, and, more specifically about our intentions for the deployment of mobile technology, to a professional and executive briefing.

Finally for now, great to report that the soft launch at Artsfest of the People's Archive project by In Cahoots and Clusta, our digital media partners, went down a treat. Lots of hugely positive feedback - thanks to Becky and her colleagues and volunteers, and to the library staff who were also there over the weekend to talk about the new library.

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