One week on - The Library of Birmingham

It's hard to believe it's been one week today since the new Library of Birmingham opened.  I haven't written a full write up on the new library yet but I have made full use of the library with five visits in almost as many days, including seven hours in the library on opening day, and it's a building all Brummies can be proud of.  The opening and new library has been trumpeted globally, thanks in part to the opening and inspiring words of Malala Yousafzai who spoke of the power of the written word, but also of a project that stands proudly as a testament to the power of learning and knowledge and of how Birmingham sees itself proudly confident.

On Sunday 8 September the number of visitors that had been to the library since it opened was a staggering 74,280 and almost 10,000 alone for the day.

I am however a fan of Madin's Central Library which I spent many years using as a student and resident and which many fans of may find surprisingly has lent some influence to the new library internally.  For me the inverted ziggurat standing alone away from the clutter that has surrounded it would provide a great building and reminder of a brutalist architecture that spoke of a new future for Britain and that which shares influences and similarities with London's South Bank Centre and the Barbican.  That it faces demolition is both tragic but also a tale of Birmingham and it's cyclical regeneration and immersion in time not as something to merely watch the passage of.

I would urge the council to make a full record both through local bloggers and artists together with historians and photographers to record for posterity it's part in evolution of the new Library of Birmingham.  The Reference Works photography commission in which four leading artists have made creative responses to the creation of the new Library of Birmingham and the old Central Library through transition and relocation provides a fascinating insight from four artists.

For me it would be fitting to engage with the community and residents to record for one last time before it's demolition the former Central Library and would be a fitting start to the Grain Photography Hub project which is creating a new hub and network for photography in the West Midlands,

Here are a small selection of the pictures taken from my flickr account,,  i've taken over the past week during visits to the new Library of Birmingham on my own and with friends and attempting to capture a space that changes by the minute in light, shadows, the movement of people and a space that is almost like Doctor Who's Tardis feeling bigger on the inside through a series of spaces that invite you to explore and engage.

Please feel free to reproduce these but with credit to me as photographer - Simon Felton


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