Library staff at the University of Birmingham were on top of the world yesterday (June 4) as construction of the new University main library officially reached its uppermost point.


To mark the occasion, a plaque featuring a quotation from a novel by David Lodge, Emeritus Professor of English Literature at the University, was placed on the roof of the building by Vice-Chancellor Professor Sir David Eastwood at a ceremony organised by the University and contractors Carillion.

The quotation, from Small World, one of Prof Lodge’s novels set in the fictional city of Rummidge – which bears a certain resemblance to Birmingham – says: To read is to surrender oneself to an endless displacement of curiosity and desire from one sentence to another…

Professor Lodge is one of the most celebrated modern-day novelists and renowned literary critics, best-known for his satirical ‘campus’ novels about academic life, which broke new ground and helped to create a new genre of literature. In 2014, his work was named as one of the top ten ways Birmingham has changed the world in a list of research produced by the University, with nominations from staff, students and alumni.

Research from the University will be at the very forefront of the new academic library, quite literally, as the Research Gallery at the front of the library will be a transformational, engaging and interactive space where the University will be able to showcase and explore research across the arts and sciences for the benefit of the whole community.

The space will be freely open to the public. It has been designed to embrace new technologies and include multimedia, multi-sensory experiences from film projections to interactive demonstrations of research.

Away from the gallery, the new library, which is due to open in the summer of 2016, will advantage staff and students across the institution. The building will be an inspirational place at the heart of the campus filled with new and emerging technologies to enhance access and add value for all students. Researchers will benefit from a state-of-the-art, research annexe in the lower ground floor featuring 50km of shelving which will bring together the University’s low use but important heritage print collection.

Diane Job, Director of Library Services at the University of Birmingham, said: “We are delighted to reach this important milestone in the construction of what will be a truly inspirational place for people to work and study. Now that the building has been topped out, the scale of what we are creating is becoming apparent and we are all incredibly excited about watching it take shape over the next year.”

Mark Nicholson, Director at Carillion, said: “It is very pleasing to reach this important stage of construction on programme, achieving very high standards of quality which is testament to the hard work and dedication of both the University and Project team.

“We are delighted to be working in partnership with the University of Birmingham to provide this exceptional new library which we hope will inspire students and enhance their learning experience for many years to come.”

For more information contact Kara Griffiths, University of Birmingham, +44 (0)7812 671797
A high resolution photograph of Vice-Chancellor of the University of Birmingham Professor Sir David Eastwood, Library Services Director Diane Job and Professor David Lodge is available here.

An image of how the completed library will look is also available.