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Strange kind of library

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The Library of Birmingham, in the Square of Centenary, is a strange kind of library. One where it is not particularly easy to find books and periodicals, or do any studying.

One of its many oddities is the floor nomenclature, which as can be seen, is self-unexplanatory.

Library of Birmingham, lifts signage, Nov 2014

Library of Birmingham, lifts signage, Nov 2014. The lift indicator on the left shows a lift at floor ‘L4’, which isn’t a floor listed on the signage

Inside the main lifts, the floor buttons have no indication as to what their labelling means, and there are two columns of buttons, which means they do not map to the physical order of the floors (a multi-column arrangement requires an understandable nomenclature).

Library of Birmingham, lift floor selector buttons

There is no explanation as to the absence of ‘floors’ 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9. People are supposed to guess that ‘GF’ is the ground floor, but on reaching that floor, the sign outside the lift says ‘G’

The ground floor sign outside the lifts says ‘G’, which is not a level displayed on the list of floors (presumably, ‘G’ relates to ‘GF’).

Ground floor is denoted by 'G', except when it's denoted by 'GF'

Ground floor is denoted by ‘G’, except when it’s denoted by ‘GF’

Since April 2013, local authorities have been assigned a ‘a key role in improving the health of their local population’, so it’s a bit odd to have massive in-your-face Coke machines in the main library space. There being (apparently) no limitation on consuming food and drink while consulting library materials, sooner on later Coke or whatever is bound to end up spilled all over items of stock.

Library of Birmingham, coke machines

Library of Birmingham, coke machines

The internal layout is not very good for peace and quiet, and there are few carrels. On the 5 November, there was even a brass band playing inside the building. Surely, the town hall or council house would be a better location for receptions and suchlike.

Written by beleben

November 6, 2014 at 6:14 pm