Ahead of this morning's ceremony (3rd September) which will see activist Malala Youzafsai formally open the £183m Library of Birmingham, director Brian Gambles has described the project as "well worth the money".
Gambles told The Bookseller: “This has been an eight-year journey, now we throw open the doors and it is for the people of Birmingham to decide if it is money well spent... It is not about static. The key for the modern library is that it is an ongoing, flexible and evolving space which can change as time goes on, depending on the needs of the patrons.”
Gambles said that the new Library of Birmingham would be used to drive footfall and book issues through the city as a whole. “We think [the new building] will act as a platform. Normal daily footfall in the old Central Library was about 5,000, we’re pretty confident we can double that in the new building. Plus, with the new digital infrastructure we believe we can push online activity far more.”
The cost of the building in time of austerity was “a valid question, but of course, this is a capital expenditure that was approved before the credit crunch”.
Gambles said the building was “2.2 Gareth Bales” referring to the €100m record transfer fee from Real Madrid for the former Tottenham Hotspur player. “This is a library that will serve the needs of the city for decades, perhaps centuries. It is well worth the money,” he said.
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