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A Brief History of Birmingham Central Library


A longer history of Birmingham Central Library

1865/6: The first Central Lending Library opened on 6th September 1865 and the Reference Library on 26th October 1866.

1868: The Shakespeare Memorial Library opened in a special room within the Central Library
Central Library

1879: On Saturday, 11th January,1879 a fire broke out behind a wooden partition serving as a temporary wall during building operations. The fire spread rapidly and only 1,000 of its stock of 50,000 were saved.

1882: The second Central Library was opened with an inaugural ceremony in the Town Hall where the opening address was delivered by the Rt.Hon. John Bright, MP.

1974: The old Central Library was demolished.

1974: The third Central Library was officially opened by Rt Hon Harold Wilson, MP (at that time Leader of the Opposition) on 12th January 1974. At the time of its opening this building was reputed to have been the largest non-national public library in Europe. The architect was John Madin.

Central Library

1986: The dismantled Shakespeare Memorial Library room was re-erected in new premises with a new Library Theatre.

1991-93: Fire destroyed the Children's Library and damaged other parts of the lower building. The Centre for the Child and a revitalised Business Insight service opened in 1993, together with an improved Foyer and Reception service.

1998: Public Internet access introduced throughout the Central Library.

2000- 02: The Learning Shop and Learning Centre planned and opened.

2013: The fourth Library, the Library of Birmingham is opened.

The first Birmingham Central Library
Birmingham Central Library 1879 - 1973
Central Library - from old to new
Adderley Park Library
Constitution Hill Library
Deritend Library
Gosta Green Library