The Friends of the Central Library group was formed in February 2007 to “bring together people and organisations to highlight the positive features of the Birmingham Central Library, challenge the City Council’s case for demolishing it and promote the creative and sustainable use of the existing building.”

John Madin in front of the Central Library

It has contributed to a growing recognition that the Library is of international architectural importance. Designed by Birmingham architect John Madin and his team over a period of seven years with extensive research and evaluation of other major library projects. John Madin was the principal of an international practice and was recognised by the British government, several foreign states and the United Nations as an expert in planning and design.

English Heritage recommended that the library be listed in 2003, but was over-ruled by the government.

Friends of the Central Library [FCL] held a public meeting at the Birmingham and Midland Institute in February 2007 was attended by sixty people and addressed by Clive Dutton (Director of Development), Brian Gambles (Central Library Librarian), Gary Taylor (Argent plc), John Madin (architect of the Central Library), Joe Holyoak (Urban designer and architect) and Andy Foster (author of the 2005 Pevsner Guide to Birmingham).

The retired engineer from Arup who designed the structure of the building spoke from the floor about its strength and durability. He confirmed that the Library has no structural problems, contrary to what the Chief Executive’s report now says.

An exhibition about the library entitled “Back to the Modern” designed by the Secretary, Alan Clawley, was shown in the Library itself and at the BMI and attracted widespread praise.