In front of the library building is a sunken, circular open-air amphitheater. The library foyer is a place to socialize, surf the Web, and eat lunch. There is Wi-Fi throughout the building.
The subterranean Children’s and Young People’s Library leads to the Music Zone, which is the entry point for the outdoor amphitheater. One will be able to attend concerts here.
The books are housed in the Book Rotunda. The British Film Institute’s Mediatheque will provide free access to the National Film Archives.
The green terraces have commanding views of the Birmingham cityscape. The exhibition gallery displays the Archives and Special Collections.
The Shakespeare Memorial Room from the old Central Library has been reassembled at the top of the Golden Rotunda. Birmingham is relatively close to Shakespeare’s hometown of Stratford-upon-Avon.
Someone with a high degree of appreciation for architecture but no respect for English grammatical rules about capitalization wrote in designboom®, “the central architectural gesture, however, is primarily expressed with a rich and layered tectonic palette. expanses of glazing are met with a varied mesh of circular metal filigree, the shapes of which draw from the industrial region's artisan tradition. elevators and escalators dynamically placed in the heart of the library form connections between the eight circular spaces within the building. these rotundas play an important role not only in the routing through the library but also provide natural light and ventilation. the rooftop rotunda houses the shakespeare memorial room, designed in 1882. this victorian reading room is lined with wood from the first birmingham central library. its prominent position as a rooftop aerie makes this delicate room visible from the square. the rep with its unique and beautiful auditorium will be renovated. new workshops, staff accommodations and a shared theater and foyer space will be created for both the rep and the library.”
The Birmingham City Council issued a press release on April 29th denying that management of the Library of Birmingham at Centenary Square would be outsourced.
When the new Library of Birmingham opens on 3 September 2013 it will be managed by Birmingham City Council.
The city council is committed to ensuring that the Library of Birmingham delivers a sustainable and excellent service to the people of the city and becomes an important driver for cultural regeneration.
We have thought carefully about how to achieve this, which is why we established a Development Trust in 2011 to support the project, working closely with the library service, to explore additional funding opportunities.
A procurement process for the operational management of the new library was started earlier this year but is not currently being progressed.
The city council’s priority at this point is that the iconic building is completed, opened and starts to deliver an excellent range of services for residents and visitors to Birmingham.
Once this enormous task has been completed successfully, and we start to get a greater understanding of the requirements of the service, then we will be in a better position to put together detailed specifications for the running of the new library.
We have commissioned a world class library and we will not be rushed in the process to ensure that it delivers an excellent service that is both value for money and sustainable.
I cannot speak to their commitment to retaining public management of public services, but the Birmingham City Council does seem determined to develop a reputation for innovative library design. The interior of a branch library in Shard End in eastern Birmingham called the Shard End Library or The Shard, completed in April of 2012, won an interior design contest for 2012 run by MIX Magazine in Manchester, the Birmingham City Council announced on February 21, 2013.
Councilor Ian Ward, Deputy Leader of Birmingham City Council, said, “The function of a library is important but so is the way it looks and feels. The Shard has a bright, warm, welcoming feel which helps to draw people in.”
John Hunt and Pauline Owen of John Hunt Associates, the firm that designed the interior, were also in the running for the International Library Design competition held in Chicago in 2013. The firm had previous designed the interiors of the Ward End, Perry Common, and South Yardley Libraries.