Library of Wonder

The Library of Birmingham has revealed the sense of wonder and enjoyment from visitors from 30 countries from across the world despite visitor numbers falling by a quarter as library opening hours were cut in 2014.  

The £188m Library of Birmingham, opened in 2013, said it had been taken aback by the tourist interest in what was conceived as a local, civic space. David Potts, head of library resources, said: “We’ve been very pleasantly surprised at how much of a tourist attraction it’s become.” 
According to the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions, for 2014 it ranked ahead of sites such as St Paul’s Cathedral and the British Library in terms of visitor numbers.

The comments celebrate the views, architecture and celebration of learning that the library has given residents and visitors alike,

Meanwhile the cut in opening hours in 2014 has revealed a dramatic fall in visitors by a quarter with 1.83m people visiting in 2015, a decline of almost 600,000 from the 2.4m in it's first year,  3.89m people visited the city's network of libraries in 2015 with five libraries seeing more than 100,000 visitors: South Yardley, Kings Heath, Small Heath, Sparkhill and Sutton Coldfield.

Work is underway to create space for the Brasshouse Language Centre to relocate to the library in time for September 2016 opening and which will allow opening hours to be extended again,

With the move of half a million photographs from Bradford's national collection of photographs to the V&A in London it is crucial that the library remains open and it's amazing collections  accessible to all.  The Library of Birmingham holds one of the UK's official national collections of photography, indeed it is the only such collection held outside a national museum, library or archive,  With Birmingham aiming to be the UK City of Photography,, it's crucial the library acts both as a beacon of learning and knowledge but a living snapshot of photography itself.

the world-famous collection at the Library of Birmingham, which was inexplicably mothballed at the end of last year, its curators sacked, its access severely limited, despite holding jewels that American exhibitors would be delighted to get their hands on, and which few of us will ever see: 250 photographs of the Crimean War by Roger Fenton, 11 volumes of Eadweard Muybridge’s Human and Animal Locomotion (1887), a unique album of 66 vintage contact prints and 77 vintage Roliflex negatives by Bill Brandt

The following are a selection of my recent photos of the library.


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