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Birmingham to open Europe's largest public library

The Library of Birmingham, the largest public library in Europe and set to open to the public Sep 3, is likely to attract over three million visitors a year in addition to scores of online visitors.

Located in Birmingham's Centenary Square, the library has cost $293 million, Xinhua reported. A programme called 'Discovery Seasons' has been planned to celebrate the opening of the library under which a number of exciting events and activities for all ages will run until the end of 2013.

Designed by a team led by Netherlands-based architectural practice Mecanoo, the library is a flagship project of Birmingham City Council's 20-year Big City Plan. The library is set to transform the city's library services and become a major cultural destination, housing Birmingham's world-class collections of archives, photography and rare books as well as a million printed volumes, the largest number held by any public library in Britain.

At 31,000 square metres, the 10-level library is around 20 percent larger than the old Central Library building, sharing a spacious entrance and foyer as well as a flexible studio theatre seating 300 people with the Birmingham Repertory theatre.

Located in the downtown, it will form a new cultural heart of the city, along with the REP theatre and Symphony Hall.

Birmingham opens largest public library

The library is unique for the range of its internationally important archives, heritage and photography collections. The library includes one of the world's most comprehensive Shakespeare collection, which comprises 43,000 books, including copies of the First, Second, Third and Fourth folio editions and many rare, early and valuable editions of individual plays published before 1709.


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