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Old 08-30-2013, 02:30 PM   #16
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Personally, I quite like it. .. compared to the old library (formless, grey concrete) it's much better. I seem to recall people having similar reservations about the Selfridges in Birmingham when that went up but that seems to be accepted, even loved, now.
That's a bit like saying compared to catching the bubonic plague, rabies is OK.
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Old 08-30-2013, 04:40 PM   #17
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I am so jealous!! IMHO, books deserve a wonderful place like this. Beautiful.
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Old 08-30-2013, 05:21 PM   #18
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I'm not crazy about the exterior, but I've seen much, much worse. In any case I'm intensely jealous!
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Old 08-30-2013, 05:26 PM   #19
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When I studied at the university of Wolverhampton I became a member of the Birmingham Library. I have to agree that I love the inside and I don't like the outside, though it does match Selfridge's. Not only that but on Centanery Square has/had some architectual/art mishaps; the eternal flame was shut off after a couple of years because the costs of keeping it on were too high. And then there is the Forward! statue, made of plastic, which burned down in 2003 (good riddance!).

I can remember one afternoon, after seeing a film and doing some shopping a group of us were waiting for the bus back to Wolverhampton and we saw a man cleaning those silvery discs. We couldn't help wondering if he with all the discs he could start all over again immediately.
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Old 08-30-2013, 05:31 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by Grace Elliot View Post
That's a bit like saying compared to catching the bubonic plague, rabies is OK.
Well, maybe it is!
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Old 08-31-2013, 05:08 AM   #21
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When I saw the architect drawings going up around Centenary Square , I was very worried. As the construction has gone on, I have increasingly liked the new place. It is certainly streets ahead of the old library, in my opinion. Then again, I like the Selfridge building as well.
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Old 09-03-2013, 05:19 PM   #22
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The library was officially opened today. I listened to the radio coverage with interest and whilst no one openly criticised the outside, I didn't hear anyone praise it. On the other hand, one wise person explained that the metal hoops are a nod to the industry associated with Birmingham and also the jewellery quarter - that made a bit of sense. Guess I'll just have to learn to love it...
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Old 09-03-2013, 08:08 PM   #23
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I went today for the opening. Spent almost half a day exploring it. It was packed today - people were queuing outside to get in until the evening! Into a library!

The garden spaces are lovely, and the views are incredible. I didn't get to see the Shakespeare rooms new location today, but I have seen it in its previous home. It's nice that it'll be public now. They were restricting access to it today though, I think because of the sheer volume of numbers I guess they didn't want to risk anything being accidentally damaged.

I haven't sorted my photos from today yet, but there's quite a lot already on flickr. Worth a look. There's a piece about the opening on the BBC website too, of course. Probably plenty of other places too, as the place was crawling with media and press today, but I haven't searched.

I guess we'll just have to wait and see if the exterior stands the test of time, but I do like the inside! Oh, but don't look at the exhibition outside - it almost made me cry seeing photos of the beautiful old library that was knocked down to build the inverted ziggurat!

ETA: If you're in UK, you can watch the report on Midlands Today. It's worth noting too that it's mentioned several times about it being Europe's largest public library - the old one was too! It's the same books, just a new space.

Last edited by narflet; 09-03-2013 at 08:18 PM.
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Old 09-03-2013, 09:19 PM   #24
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Was that a Dutch architect? Her name and accent implies it, at least.

With regard to the design: I don't like it. It looks like a design created to be creative for the sake of being creative, and of course, it automatically gets the moniker "modern" pasted all over it.
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Old 09-04-2013, 11:49 AM   #25
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Was that a Dutch architect? Her name and accent implies it, at least.
Yes, Francine Houben of Mecanoo.
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Old 09-04-2013, 02:58 PM   #26
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Is it true that Birmingham city council have taken funding away from the small, local libraries in order to finance this one?
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Old 09-04-2013, 03:19 PM   #27
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Is it true that Birmingham city council have taken funding away from the small, local libraries in order to finance this one?

Not quite, as I understand it.

Funding for the new library was agreed before the need to cut council costs was realized. It wasn't dependent on cutting other library costs. The cuts to existing smaller libraries came later, as a result of those cuts. It wouldn't have been as simple as just diverting the funds at that stage. That would have almost certainly led to no new library and cuts to existing facilities.

I know that logically that makes no sense, but it seems to be the way bureaucracy works!

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Old 09-05-2013, 12:40 AM   #28
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Sadly, hardly anybody visit the library for the purpose of reading unless it is required for their schools or their jobs. Nobody read for pleasure anymore . They are more interested in watching movies, playing video games or listening to songs.

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Old 09-05-2013, 04:56 AM   #29
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See my writeup on this on TeleRead:

http://www.teleread.com/library/birm...-opens-europe/

I'm okay with the architecture one way or another - what's dismal about the whole affair is Birmingham ploughing money into these civic egoboost projects while the rest of the country's public library sector is in meltdown. England's local library financing system gives politicians a horribly effective smokescreen for sneaking away from their responsibilities to provide library services. This from the country that brought you the LIBOR scandal.
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Old 09-05-2013, 05:27 AM   #30
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That shelving is quite old-school, compare the Stockholm Public Library http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Fi...eket_2008e.jpg built in 1928.
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