Library of Birmingham Blog 6

By on 27/04/2010 in Blog, Culture

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

gamblesConstruction work on the library site is coming along nicely, the hole is getting bigger and the REP is getting smaller by the day. We are all learning more about construction processes than we ever thought we needed to know! For the curious, the large columns in the centre of the site are sacrificial piles (not what you might think!), which will be load-tested to destruction.

Click on the flickr link for the latest photographs: http://www.flickr.com/photos/birminghamnewsroom/sets/72157621164198944/

I'm pleased to report that all work is proceeding to schedule, which means that we are on course to complete the build and fit out in March 2013, in good time for the opening celebration of the Library of Birmingham to form one of the centrepieces of what we all fervently hope will be our year as the first UK City of Culture.

We have just finished a six-week period of community engagement about the library. It was a great success as 1,282 people, over 40 a day, came to learn more and express their views about the interior development of the library. They included people of all ages and many visitors from outside the city, almost unanimously positive about the city and its planned development. “More green spaces” was a common theme, and the library of course with its garden terraces will make a contribution here as well.

The whole project is developing well on its many fronts: we are conducting final interviews shortly for a company to plan and execute the mammoth task of moving everything from the Central Library to the Library of Birmingham, a complex and delicate job requiring highly specialist contractors.

Later this week we will be launching a branding campaign on the site hoardings. The hoardings themselves will get a much needed makeover.

The partnership between Library and REP is entering a new phase, as we start to thrash out the details of the management services agreement between the two parties. And of course design work has by no means finished, as we feed the results of community engagement back to Mecanoo as they develop the interior design.

I’ve been personally very encouraged by the positive response to our ideas for the “library experience” and by the many invitations to talk to and meet with so many different people in the city, from business leaders to students, colleges, universities, writers, artists and many more.

It all helps to build up the huge partnership that will be needed to make the library a real part of the city’s fabric, a true city of culture.

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