Council has divisive plans for Central Library

Birmingham City Council have been threatening to some time to move the central library from it’s purpose built home adjacent to the Council House, Town Hall and the Museum and Art Gallery to the end of Digbeth next to the ill fated Millenium Point (the Science Museum after was moved from it’s location on New Hall Street), an area the council have taken to calling Eastside. The current location puts the library at the heart of a cultural zone that includes, all within a ten minute walk, Symphony hall, the Ikon gallery, New Rep Theatre, the International Convention Centre, Centenary Square, the War Memorial, the Museum and Art Gallery, the Gas Hall, Gas Street Basin, the Waterhall Art Gallery and Birmingham Cathedral.

The proposed reloaction will surround the library with derelict factory units and wholesalers of household goods. A decidedly less culturally rich area.

In an update to the plans the council now say that they plan to split the library. The lending section will be built over the surface carpark behind Baskerville House (named after the printer John Baskervillea, friend and mentor of the well known Birmingham industrialist Matthew Boulton) whilst the much larger reference and archive section will move out to Millenium Point.

Today the Labour group amongst the councillors announced that they will scrap the plans to split the library and relocate it en masse to Eastside.

Split or whole, the movement of the library seems to be just another example of Birmingham’s cultural and historical wealth being relegated to the sidelines whilst the city centre is turned into a homogenised wasteland of bars, lap dance clubs and ‘luxury apartments’.

2 Comments so far

  1. Sean (unregistered) on July 21st, 2005 @ 9:09 am

    At last! another city from the UK! Bienvenue 2eme City of England! Welcome to the family.

  2. GaZ (unregistered) on July 21st, 2005 @ 1:47 pm

    Although the Eastside isn’t much at the moment, the council does have plans to modernise it all… Millenium Point is just the pioneer development :-)

    Also, it’s probably more convenient (for visitors) to have the entire library located in just one building, rather than splitting the site over a couple of miles.

    As for the outburst of bars and “dens of iniquity” (;-)), it is starting to be recognised as a problem for the centre (namely the Broad street area) as it’s driving away prospective businesses. How effective this will be remains to be seen. Visit the Broad Street Bid for more info.

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