Virtual Library of Birmingham – Birmingham City Council

The £188.8m Library of Birmingham will be a major new cultural destination, rewriting the book for 21st century public libraries. It opens in 2013. During the design stage Birmingham City Council contracted Daden to deliver an interactive virtual model of the new library, primarily to support community engagement, to inform the internal fit-out and to investigate the potential of a mixed physical/virtual library space. Daden used the architect’s images, plans, drawings to build the Virtual Library of Birmingham in situ on “Centenary Square” in Second Life.

The Virtual Library of Birmingham is currently proving to be a valuable tool for library staff working on the new development and was launched on Second Life in July 2011, allowing the public to explore the new library in the virtual world

Watch a video of the Virtual Library of Birmingham

Development of the Virtual Library of Birmingham is fully funded by the West Midlands Regional Improvement and Efficiency Programme (RIEP).

Benefits of the Virtual Library of Birmingham

  • Enables staff and the public to visualise and explore the new library and become familiar with its inside spaces – virtual worlds offer the chance to explore the social dimension of the space
  • Enables library staff to better understand how people might use and move around the building, and make informed decisions with regards to floor layouts etc
  • Will allows the public to visit the Library of Birmingham in the virtual world long before the building opens
  • Allows virtual world visitors to explore the new building at their own pace, in their own way, as they would the real library. Every movement, action and comment of the user can be tracked and stored – yielding valuable data for library staff to understand how the space is used. Visitors to the Virtual Library will be able to share their thoughts/comments and leave “like this” style post-it notes using Daden’s Annotated Spaces

Read more about The Virtual Library in our case study

Read the Library of Birmingham’s The Word – chapter 4