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296. Does The World Still Need Libraries?

As much as I enjoy them, libraries seem to be one of the entities struggling most to stay relevant to an increasingly online populace. Digital references and e-readers seem—at least on the surface— to not only be publication killers but library killers as well. And it is in this environment that the city of Birmingham (UK) is launching a brand new £193m library project in the center of the west side neighborhood.

The New Library of Birmingham Identity:

Plans by Dutch architects, Mecanoo were approved last fall and the site is still in the early stages of construction. Even though the opening is more than a year and a half away in 2013, the library is launching a campaign (called Rewriting the Book) to help connect the new institution with the community and present the library as a destination for more than mere books. The campaign features a new identity, online video, installations, ads and a contest to submit yourself as one of 26 characters that the library will use to explain this momentous project.

Meet Dalvinder Via an Early Installation:

Meet Frank Via an Introductory Video (Click to Play):

Four of the first five sets of faces have already been announced and each one features a short profile of the person, a introductory video that explains the role of a library in their life, and a colorful graphic representation of how the library is more than books. The creative work was developed by UK design consultancy KLM and has already begun appearing around the development site. Jon Derry, chairman at KLM said the building (and the campaign) is making "a statement of radical change and bold ambition, it acknowledges that, from the outset, the new Library of Birmingham will challenge (and continue to challenge) the conventions and definition of what a library should be."

Meet Matt. Another Look at the Design:

So will Birmingham succeed in connecting the library to the community? Can a library thrive in today's digital environment? And can the library still be a hub of modern life much as it has been for hundreds of years? Of course only time will tell, but it's nice to see someone putting some funds, energy and yes—design behind the effort. I hope they succeed. To find out more visit the library's site or facebook page.

Rewriting The Book Design Element Detail:

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References (2)

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  • Response
    Graphic representation of different things make them easy to understand.Libraries are very important in the way that all people do not have access to the digital world or internet.So the manual type of libraries should be always there.
  • Response
    some one about this yesterday. What should libraries offer? I really connect to the story about the artist who goes to the library for research. I used to

Reader Comments (3)

I just had a conversation with some one about this yesterday. What should libraries offer? I really connect to the story about the artist who goes to the library for research. I used to do that all the time in college. I wish I knew where my local library was.
July 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterC Jones
I'd say that I completely agree with the author's sentiments. Then I remembered, as long as we have people who do not have access to all things digital we will always need the library. I'm referring to this lack of access in terms of personal resources, location and sometimes because of race.

It is a good thing then that we have advocates for Libraries in entities like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation:
July 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMonirom
Erie PA seems to want to build libraries
August 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterStephen Smith

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