The new Library of Birmingham, designed by Dutch architects Mecanoo, is the largest public library in Europe. When the library relocated to its new building, it chose Bruynzeel to supply mobile shelving to house its entire archive, as well as mobile cabinets for use by the general public. “It was important that we had a company that would work with us to provide innovative ways of storing our material,” said Paul Hemmings, senior manager of special collections at the Library. “Bruynzeel was able to solve the issues we had about maximising storage in a building that has a large number of irregular storage spaces.”
The solution In order to ensure all the Library’s lending library and archive stock could be fitted into the building, Bruynzeel proposed a range of high-density storage solutions. Chief among these was its double decker system, which was installed on Floor Five of the library. The double decker allows library staff quick and safe access to double-height stacks, without the need for machinery, via an integrated mezzanine level. The double-decker system is installed across one of two archive levels in the so-called ‘Golden Box’, housing the library’s most precious archive items in climate controlled environments. Bruynzeel supplied specialist storage for glass plate negatives, rolled and flat map storage and box storage, alongside book shelving for special collections including the Library’s renowned Shakespeare collection. With a total length of mobile shelving in excess of 70km, Bruynzeel’s contribution to the Library of Birmingham represents the largest mobile storage system installed in the UK for many years.