Birmingham Archives and Collections collects and preserves both original and printed records of historical significance relating to the City of Birmingham, its people, businesses, institutions and societies.

The Library is home to an internationally significant collection of archives, photographs and rare books. We care for over 6,000 archive collections dating from the 12th century to the 21st century stored on more than 12 miles of shelving.

In addition to our archival holdings, we also hold significant special collections which include an extensive local studies collection of over 60,000 items, the Shakespeare Collection, photography collections and we also hold an extensive early and fine print collection consisting of over 13,500 volumes. These are stored in environmentally-controlled conditions and there are lots of ways to explore and enjoy these collections.

Archives and Collections enrich our understanding of the present through an appreciation of the past. They connect us to our families, our homes and the places where we live and work. They foster and promote a sense of place and community.

As the Archives and Collections Service for the City of Birmingham we are committed to making the unique and precious collections - written and digital, images, maps, film and other media – accessible and relevant to everyone.

We continue to collect documents, in all forms, that will tell the story of today for people in the future.

To make this possible, we ensure that significant records, whether in traditional or digital format are:

  • actively collected and described
  • preserved for future generations
  • accessible and set in a context that helps customers understand them

as well as fulfilling their valuable role in providing evidence for legal and other official purposes.

We continue to add to our collections each year.

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