Reminded of Birmingham

I just read that Birmingham has opened its new library. I looks beautiful. I visited the city in 2009, and I have to say, the old library was probably the most depressing place I have ever visited. Already then, there were plans and a plot for the new library, and I thought it would be really something to see once it opened.

At the time, 2013 seemed far away into the future, and now that we are already there, I realize I probably will not go there anytime soon. A look at their site suggests a place where things really will be happening, though!

Libraries are not what they used to be. What they used to be was a haven for introverts. A silent sanctuary in a noisy world. You´d think this would be even more important as the world has become noisier (hasn´t it?), but no. Our new library is, for example, completely open to a cafĂ© and a restaurant, where there is sometimes live music. Separate study/meeting rooms have become study places incorporated within the body of the library itself, mixing those who work alone and those who work together in projects. I have several times heard visitors complain to the librarians about loud groups, only to be told that "that´s just not how we do things any more, sorry".

I think it´s both good and bad. I wish there had been a separate room or a separate floor in our library for silence. I don´t see why both needs can´t be satisfied.

Anyway, Birmingham wasn´t all bleak, even though my previous blogpost might have given that impression. I spent a lot of time at the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, where they have historical and art exhibitions, as well as a really nice lunch restaurant.

When I travel alone, I tend to go for a substantial lunch and have a light dinner in bed, while sorting through my photos and generally trying to digest all impressions of the day.

My last day in Birmingham, I walked to a wonderful park, the Warley Woods. Then, along a pretty canal, I found my way to the Bothanical Gardens, which were just amazing.

In the shop I ran into a Swedish lady, with whom I had supper (she had been to a wedding - Birmingham is not really the place you´d expect to run into a lot of Swedish tourists, particularly not in May), and it turned out we were booked on the same flight home!

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