Memories of the old Birmingham Library and its football programmes

The new Library of Birmingham opened this week and the publicity about it has been amazing, both for the city of Birmingham and for public libraries in general. I love the look of it (although my friends are divided about it), and plan to visit as soon as I can.
However, I have very fond memories of the old Central Library, now regarded as a fine example of brutalist architecture. When I trained to be a librarian in 2002 my masters dissertation looked at the content of Aston Villa football matchday programmes from 1980 to 2002 (conclusion: very little had changed). I spent a wonderful few days in the library looking through their programme archives, reading about the club I loved and talking about the project with the friendly librarians. The library was massive and a bit haphazard in layout, so you had to walk through lots of other book collections to get to the section you wanted, but that was part of its charm, at least to me. If you were in a hurry to find something or preferred a cleaner, more stylish look, I can see it might not have been ideal but hopefully the new Library of Birmingham will be beautiful and efficient as well as charming.


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