Monday, September 9, 2013

Postcard from the Library

Queues have formed outside the new Library of Birmingham every day since it opened last Tuesday. Millions of photographs have been taken by thousands of visitors. And, this weekend, the city centre buzzed with celebrations to welcome the new building. Which is why I've posted you a picture of a singer from the brilliant Birmingham Opera Company presenting Mussorgsky's Songs and Dances of Death in the library amphitheatre, rather than a shot of the building. Other photographers have taken better pictures than me. Google it if you haven't seen it. It's the kind of architecture you'll have an opinion on.

The folk at the Library were kind enough to let me have a go on their blog in which I expressed how keen I was to get inside and start working there again. From my first visit, I'm impressed. I like the layout of space, the light, the gardens, the views. I enjoyed rounding a shelf to discover an intriguing artwork. I loved seeing Brummies expressing their surprise at how much information and entertainment was freely available to them. But I can't work there, not yet.

A pedestrian thoroughfare passed below the old Central Library. Everyone walked under it on their way somewhere else; very few went inside. The fanfare around the new Library means the entire city want to see inside so, for now, it's a destination as much as a library. When I visited there were queues at almost every librarian's desk. I bet they've never been so popular and it's great to see people interested in books of all kinds. Fortunately I'm at the stage of plotting ideas for my next novel so people watching counts as research. Maybe the crowds will have dispersed by the time I want to sit down and write. I've spotted the window-facing desk I fancy and I don't need the library to be silent in order to work there. I'd just prefer not to queue!


Timberati said...

Ah, yet another reason to visit Birmingham.

Lexi said...

I have a seldom-worn coat like that chap with the bottle! Not the matching hat, though.

Katharine D'Souza said...

I think the hat probably unsuitable for London. Incompatible with cycle helmet too. Should you find yourself lost in a Russian forest though, do acquire one!

Timberati said...

Now there's a market gap: fur-covered bike helmets.