Library of Birmingham
Library of Birmingham
4.5
11:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Monday
11:00 AM - 7:00 PM
Tuesday
11:00 AM - 7:00 PM
Wednesday
11:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Thursday
11:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Friday
11:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Saturday
11:00 AM - 5:00 PM
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Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
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4.5
3,801 reviews
Excellent
2,400
Very good
1,031
Average
234
Poor
74
Terrible
62

Penelope
24 contributions
Feb 2023
Definitely recommend visiting here! The library interior is very stylish and riding up the escalators seeing all the books is breathtaking. Be sure to stop at both of the terrace gardens for a good view or just a nice place to sit and relax. The higher level in particular has a nice view over a neighbouring park. On the 9th floor is the Shakespeare memorial room and an indoor viewing platform, which are both worth a visit. Be aware that the library can get very busy, and you might have to wait a while to take the lift up (or else climb a lot of stairs). The library also has some displays showing the history of Birmingham and a more artistic style exhibit on the ground floor. I'd recommend budgeting about 30-45min for the library. If you're coming here on a weekend trip, note that it's shut on Sundays.
Written February 6, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Ann C
Nashville, TN3,012 contributions
Dec 2021
Currently Covid numbers are higher than they have ever been. There are signs in the library saying you have to wear a mask. We appreciated this, we wore masks...but none of the staff wore masks, nor did the 2 security men. A man approached the security men and asked them if he had to wear a mask and the security men told him 'only if you want to'. How about lead by example? I understand that it is difficult to enforce, but no staff wore masks and their own signs were ignored completely. I find this difficult to accept.

The library itself is a lovely example of a modern library. The top floor houses a Shakespeare collection. It presented rather cluttered with children's notes all over the place, surely there is a more suitable place to present the children's items.

There are two outdoor garden areas that have lovely views of the city. One is a herb garden. The herb garden is in drastic need of being winterized, it was left in a mess.
Written December 19, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Julie P
United Kingdom1,666 contributions
Sep 2022
I first visited the library when it opened and have been to a couple of meetings pre 2016. I decided it was time to revisit and was pleased to see it's wearing well. I love the exterior of the building and it's totally in keeping with the modern look of Centenary Square. Inside it's great it's got escalators and elevators for most of it. However if going up to the Secret Garden and Shakespeare Room at the very top, be prepared for either a long wait for the lift or a lot of stairs to climb - the glass elevator isn't currently in action. Both are worth a visit. You can't say that the Birmingham skyline is the greatest draw, but it is interesting to see how it's developing and changing. There's also another garden further down. Both have seats.

The interior for me has always been more of a disappointment. I think the black shelves make it look dark and oppressive, although lifted slightly by the coloured lights on the escalators, shelf edges and the circular skylight. I disklike the children's library being downstairs and enclosed. I think there was a missed opportunity to make it bright and attractive, especially as Peters Children's Books Suppliers are a Birmingham based company and supply fantastic colourful furniture. The shelving is boring and the yellow flooring and teenage steps don't really lift it enough. The glass etched windows however are beautiful.

Elsewhere there are some good uses of modern technology and the pictures and maps adorning the walls are a good promotion of the varied collection they have, as well as brightening the walls.

Finally I feel sorry for the people of Birmingham who don't have better opening hours - 11am - 5/6pm isn't good enough for a city, but I know that's money and politics.
Written September 26, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Dan W
Tamworth, UK6 contributions
Jul 2022 • Family
The Library is a fantastic building. The views from its rooftop gardens and its observation point at the very top are something else. As you'd expect, there's a fantastic selection of books, too!

However, it's let down by the feature lift in the main atrium still being broken after aroud 5 years. It's quite grubby in places, especially the windows and minor things, such as Microsoft Word produced A4 notices sellotaped to walls etc. Do take the sheen off.

At present, there's nowhere to get anything g to eat or drink as the former cafe has been taken over by the Commonwealth Games. It looks like there is a facility for an outdoor coffee shop on the roof, but I've never seen this used.

Worse still, is the restricted opening hours. Only open from 11 on a Saturday and not open at all on a Sunday, which seems a waste of such a fantastic and iconic building.
Written August 14, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

michael hughes
23 contributions
Jul 2021
Very impressive building, used to visit regularly before I had my own computer. Would have scored 5 but for an annoying experience this week. I needed to photocopy a couple of maps, the lifts would not stop at the upper floors, the escalators roped off, with just one staff member on each floor, apparently you now have to make an appointment. Presumably the absent staff are sitting at home on full pay.
They did allow me to go up, but they now don't accept cash for the copying, and I didn't have my debit card. The man on duty claimed the reason was (you guessed it) "because of Covid".I replied rubbish, there is ZERO evidence of Covid being transmitted by coins, the real reason is it's more convenient for the staff. Fortunately they were able to debit my library card. How come private sector concerns like shops, supermarkets, pubs and restaurants who have to compete for customers have no problem with cash? That's the public sector for you.
Written July 29, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Ken M
6 contributions
Mar 2023
On entering we were met by a member of staff who was so enthusiastic. He enquired our purpose and helpfully suggested how we might get the best from our visit.
Such a pleasant and helpful man who made our visit so good and worthwhile.
When we spoke with him and some colleagues when leaving we were met with the same friendly enthusiasm.
Would definitely recommend a visit to this gem if you are nearby.
Written March 20, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Humphy Fish
24 contributions
Sep 2022
What an amazing building - we couldn’t believe how huge it was and how beautifully designed, bath inside and out. The roof garden gave us great views across the city and there was a very friendly staff member who approached us when we entered the building and told us what was on each floor. They had a selection of unwanted books for sale and lots of interesting local history displays.
Written September 18, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Sjrjacobs
Birmingham, UK19 contributions
Jan 2020
This building is worth a visit. There are gardens on the thrid and fifth floor with excellent views over Birmingham and the surrounding countryside. A littel gem at the top is the Shakespeare Room which is worth the effort of getting up there. There are often interesting exhibits in the exhibition room.
But when we signed up for library cards the staff acted shocked - they said that most people either want to see the building or use the computers. It is not the easiest place to study in either as there were people sleeping and arguing each time I tried to study there.
I have eaten at the cafe a few times but really cannot recommend it - only if you do not have time to go elsewhere.
Since opening five years ago the opening hours have been cut and the first floor now let out to a private business.
So the building is worth seeing but I think it fails as a library which is really sad.
Note that it is part of the Rep Theatre complex which is great and they have a good restaurant and bar there but it is not cheap.
Written February 23, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Alopex
Birmingham, UK41 contributions
Nov 2022
Lots of desk space, some great views, wifi, printing facilities, and of course reference and other works to read and use. However, the opening hours continue to disappoint, and the removal of the cafe is strange, meaning I have to go elsewhere to spend money. On these two points, the Library could take a few lessons from the excellent Hive library in Worcester.
Written December 27, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Chris B
10 contributions
Mar 2022
I spent my childhood in this library and to go up to the top floor was an old cast iron spiral staircase leading to the place where they kept all the large dusty old books, electoral data, maps and historical documents etc. To see what has happened to it now is awful for me. I used to go with my friends after school and we played hide and seek in there among the book aisle and had so much fun. Then I went to study at that library when I went to university - it is so sad to see this carbuncle that lacks any sort of charm imo. I know times have to change but there is little left of the old Birmingham and even the bullring has turned into what looks like a dirty giant gold ball. My great grandfather helped built Birmingham Town Hall which is still intact and I was happy to see the museum in which I also played happily after school with all my friends.
Written March 20, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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Library of Birmingham - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go

Frequently Asked Questions about Library of Birmingham

Library of Birmingham is open:
  • Mon - Tue 11:00 AM - 7:00 PM
  • Wed - Sat 11:00 AM - 5:00 PM
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