Library relocation plans moving forward

By on 25/03/2011 in News

As preparation work begins ahead of relocating millions of books, artefacts and other items from Central Library to the new Library of Birmingham, Council officials have provided further details of the gargantuan process and some of the changes to services that will be introduced as work continues.

 This comes as posters go up inside the library advising visitors of what is happening and minor building alterations begin to provide the space needed for staff to catalogue, preserve and pack countless items of all shapes and sizes. The message that Central Library is changing is being promoted across the city.

 Brian Gambles, Assistant Director of Culture, said: “Conducting a full stock take and decanting one of Europe's largest libraries is a major operation in itself,,but we aim to do this while maintaining a service.

 “Throughout the work we will be doing our level best to keep core services operating as well as possible, and I'd ask members of the public to bear with us throughout this period, as the ultimate rewards will be more than worth it.

 “The level, quality and breadth of services which will be available in Library of Birmingham will be truly cutting edge and designed with the needs of our customers very much in mind.”

 From July 2011 the top three floors of the library will be closed to the public and the remaining floors will be reorganised. This means that the majority of resources currently on floors 4 to 6 will be unavailable. There will be a general enquiry point on the ground floor and staff will respond to enquiries on a wide range of topics.

 The archives and heritage service will continue to operate, on a limited basis, with a range of genealogical and local history books, microfilm and online resources available via the general enquiry point, and access to the sixth floor archives search room will be available by appointment.

 Selected services currently located on the lower floors such as book lending, business and learning support, and the Children's and Music Lending Libraries will continue to operate right up until 2013. More detailed information about the interim services will be made available online nearer the time.

 While cataloguing and packing materials the library service is also taking the opportunity to review the stock it carries, judging where material is duplicated, readily available online, out-of-date or not in demand, while also undertaking an extensive digitisation programme to widen access to resources.

Where materials are designated surplus to requirements the Council operates a responsible disposals policy, firstly offering them for sale, transferring them to other libraries, charitable donation or recycling as appropriate. Any income raised  will be reinvested in new stock. The library's retention and collection management policies are available on the council's website.

 No materials from within the archive and heritage collections will be disposed of, as they by their very nature are unique and irreplaceable. The Library of Birmingham will feature dramatically improved conditions and capacity for storage of such items compared to the existing building.

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