Library of Birmingham plans unveiled

Author: The Guardian   |  

Plans for Britain’s biggest ever public library were unveiled in Birmingham yesterday in the clearest sign yet of a national renaissance in the construction of grand civic libraries.

The £193m Library of Birmingham will tower over Centenary Square in the heart of the city with capacity to accommodate more than three million visitors a year, according to the city council, which is backing the project with £159m in public funds. Only the British Library, which operates by appointment only and does not lend, will be larger.

The investment in the 31,000 sq m glass and steel facility, designed by avant-garde Dutch architects Mecanoo, comes as libraries report a 10-15% increase in visitor numbers since the economic downturn began to bite last summer.

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