Sunday, 10 November 2013

Birmingham Library

This morning it was bitterly cold but the sun was glistening on the new library so I went for a look around. I've tried a few times before but it's always been packed with long queues for the lifts and gardens.

It's been open since September and is ultra modern inside.

The escalators take you up through the Rotunda which is the heart of the library and houses tens of thousands of books.

On level 3 is the Discovery Terrace which gives good views around the city and is a lovely spot to sit and read in the sunshine. Today most of it was barriered off as workmen were replacing a couple of the huge window panels.

This was the view down into the Amphitheatre.

From the Discovery Floor you can either take the glass lift up to Level 7 or walk up the 90 stairs.

This is the view from the top down.

The garden terrace on Level 7 has even better views out over the city.

This was looking back down towards our boat which you can just make out between the two tower blocks.

I'm still really impressed with my new camera. This is the same shot zoomed in.

The Secret Garden on Level 7 is much nicer than the Discovery Terrace. It's much more densely planted and feels quite secluded with the hustle and bustle of the city far below.

There are several seating areas which would make good spots to soak up the rays while reading a book in the summer.

This is the window cleaners lift. It runs on rails around the building but is stored in the garden when not in use. 

There's no way you'd ever catch me in it! I'm not good with heights and it turned my stomach taking photos looking down over the railings.

This is the view over towards the Sealife Centre and NIA with the canal in the centre. I'm amazed how quiet the canal is at the moment. The linear moorings near the NIA have been empty for days.

The International Conference Centre (ICC) and The Rep

To get to Level 9 you have to walk up another 42 steps but it's worth the effort as it houses the Shakespeare Memorial Room. This room was originally built in 1882 and has been moved from the old Central Library. The woodwork is really beautiful with carvings and marquetry and the elaborate cornice and ceiling has been restored by local craftsmen. It's quite a shock when you walk through the door as it's so different from the rest of the library.

After being right up at the top of the building I took the lift down to the basement where the children's library and chill out area are located. It's a nice cosy area where the little ones can cuddle up with a book in the many bean bags or foam cushions which are scattered around.

This is the Digital Gallery which is high up on the wall. At the moment the display is a constantly changing image showing the self-portraits of 1000 people of Birmingham.

This one was an intricately carved wooden surround representing American birds and with a kaleidoscope in the centre.

Apart from books, the library has an extensive music and film library and you can borrow CD's or DVD's.

Previously, we've leaned over the railing and watched music and dance performances down in the amphitheatre but today there was just a couple playing table tennis. The acoustics are so good that, standing on the pavement above, you can hear every word being said by the couple playing the game.

If you're coming to Birmingham, the Library is a "must see".  Allow yourself at least an hour but try and visit on a nice day to make the most of the views.

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