Functional Spaces

Last weekend I walked through Birmingham New Street train station. After seeing it featured on the TV show Demolition – The Wrecking Crew (BBC Two), I was interested to see how the works to improve the station were continuing around rail passengers using the building. Part of what interested me was how they were running cables on the ceiling and then using undulating slats to transform this very functional space into something less mechanical and more architectural.

Birmingham New Street Station
Birmingham New Street Station

There has been a lot of desk based work this week, preparing for a number of critical meetings and also using the time to ensure all the current project documentation and outstanding actions are being tracked and completed where possible. Next week the Project Team will attend a Library Design Meeting and where we will start to look at the finer details related to both Stage 4 (Technical Design) of the Main Library Redevelopment and also preparation for phasing. We will discuss plans to ensure that the day-to-day operations of the Library are unaffected whilst the construction work takes place. To aid this, I have worked on a range of documents that will help us understand if we have ‘ticked all the boxes’ and are covering what we need to.

The Estates Masterplan Steering Group met on Thursday and we were able to discuss the current position of all of the current Estates Masterplan projects the Library is involved with, including the Fallowfield Campus Redevelopment, the Manchester Engineering Campus Development, the Manchester Business School Redevelopment, the Coupland Building Redevelopment and, of course, the Main Library Redevelopment. We assessed the work taking place in support of these projects and also reported on the positive work currently being undertaken by the Library Redevelopment Champions.

Fallowfield Campus Redevelopment
Fallowfield Campus Redevelopment

I had another opportunity to visit The John Rylands Library in order to meet with Rachel Beckett (Head of Special Collections) where we had the chance to discuss Special Collections at the Library and how this links with the Main Library Redevelopment. I attended my first Welcome Week training session in preparation for the start of the new academic year for which we had a tour of the Main Library and learned about the key things that new students often require or ask. One of the highlights for me was successfully searching for, finding and borrowing a book from the Library. I am sure that most staff undertake this on a regular basis, but for a former non-library member of staff, this was a great experience for two reasons: 1) I was able to experience the process from a Library user’s perspective and 2) the book I chose is a fantastic resource and will be very useful for wayfinding and signage aspects of the Redevelopment (Construction and Design Manual: Wayfinding and Signage, Meuser and Pogade 2010 DOM Berlin).

Although the kids have gone back to school, summer appears to have fizzled away and the Premiership is on an international break, there are still lots of things happening for those looking to liven up their weekend. There is a Children’s spookily gothic tour at The John Rylands Library on Saturday 5 September at 2pm and, for the adults, why not take a trip to Albert Square and visit the Festejar Spanish Festival afterwards. On Sunday 6 September Manchester Central Library will host a Sunday funday. Along with lots of activities for children and families from 12pm, Guy Garvey will broadcast his Finest Hour show live from Central Library on BBC 6 Music from 2 – 4pm. Guy will be joined on the show by guests including Radiohead’s Phil Selway and New Order’s Stephen Morris, to discuss the literary influences that have inspired their work. Finally, don’t forget that for all motorsport fans this weekend features the Italian Grand Prix from Monza, Italy

See you on the other side,

Mike Kelly, Library Space Project Manager

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