Today has seen the opening of a magnificent public library right in the middle of Birmingham, which has a collection of over one millions books. The library has been especially commissioned and architecturally designed to the cost of £189m and is streets away from the old 1970s’ concrete monstrosity that previously housed the Birmingham library.
Along with the one million books, the building also boasts nine floors, more than 200 public access computers, theatres, an exhibition gallery, as well as music rooms, the biggest collection of Shakespeare’s work in the world, capacity for 3,000 people, and even a brown roof garden with wild flower meadow!
I thought it poignant that this amazing facility was officially opened by Malala Yousafzai, who was the young teenager shot in Pakistan by the Taliban for championing women’s rights to an education.
During her address Malala said she was proud the building had been designed by a woman. She also went on to say that “Books are precious and that It is written that a room without books is like a body without a soul. A city without a library is like a graveyard.”
Those responsible at Birmingham Council for making the decision in these hard times to invest this amount of money in a library, whilst libraries all over the country are closing, must have had to think long and hard about priorities. I am sure they have been criticised by many for making this huge investment.
Now the facility is in place and opened ready to go, the job must now surely be on communicating to the local population the opportunities that this presents. The library has been built for the people and access by the people should be encouraged. We know from experience with clients who financially support learning and development within their organisations that not everyone takes full advantage. Some even grumble about having the opportunity to learn.
I for one, think Birmingham Council should be heartily congratulated for choosing to invest in providing an opportunity for everyone to increase their knowledge and learning and as a result to grow.
We all have a light inside, which can radiate even brighter if we have confidence in who we are and knowledge to share with the world. Malala Yousafzai knows only too well that only through education can we shine bright.