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Latest Faces of the Library of Birmingham Announced

Search for twenty six ambassadors of the new library is now complete

Birmingham City Council has announced the final nine Faces of the Library of Birmingham. The latest faces to be confirmed include a teenage radio presenter, a Bhangra expert, the founder of a local film festival and The Hustle actor Adrian Lester, who began his career on the stage at The REP. All twenty six Faces of the Library of Birmingham were selected for their genuine passions for Birmingham and their excitement about the Library of Birmingham.

Ian Ward, deputy leader of Birmingham City Council said: In the Faces of the Library of Birmingham we have a bunch of fantastic ambassadors for the library and for the city. They reflect the incredible range of roles that libraries can play in the lives of people from different walks and in different stages of life.

The ‘Rewriting the Book Campaign’ was launched in May 2010 with the aim of finding 26 people, one for every letter of the alphabet, to represent the many values of the Library of Birmingham and help bring the new building to life for others. As real people with real passions, the Faces embody the variety and wealth of the services, facilities and possibilities that the Library of Birmingham will provide to the city’s residents and the wider world when it opens in 2013. From now until the Library’s opening, and beyond, the Faces will act as ambassadors within their own communities and networks to help spread the word about the library to Birmingham and the wider world.

The new Faces are:

David Ault




David Ault, 30, from Walsall

David is an astrophysicist, passionate storyteller and actor. He runs The Big Bang West and East Midlands, and travels to theatres and primary schools to give storytelling workshops. He’s thrilled that the new library will help increase the profile of Birmingham’s science and engineering heritage and allow access to the cities internationally significant archives.

See video of David Ault
Shaun Baxter


Shaun Baxter, 19, from Handsworth

Shaun is a radio presenter for three different shows around the city. He has a genuine passion for libraries as a social space where people, especially teenagers, can meet to work together and thinks that the new building will help bring a real buzz to the city.

See video of Shaun Baxter






John Blewitt




Dr John Blewitt, 55, from Malvern

John is a Senior Lecturer at Aston University and has been closely involved with the Library of Birmingham since 2009. He is an expert on public libraries and their relation to social and environmental sustainability. John thinks the new library will be a magnificent space open to everyone and dedicated to learning, culture, the arts and commerce and will redefine what a library is and can be.

See video of John Blewitt



Gursh Chana



Gursh Chana, 40, from Great Barr

Gursh Chana is passionate about Birmingham’s music and arts heritage. Gursh worked with Birmingham library to research and present his exhibition “From Soho Road to the Punjab”, which showcased previously unseen photographs and club flyers, rare albums, authentic instruments, awards and costumes. After opening at Birmingham Central Library in 2005, the exhibition went on tour around the country and also New York in 2011. A record of the exhibition is now housed in the library’s archives along with the world’s first book on Bhangra culture which Gursh contributed to. Gursh is excited about the new exhibitions spaces in the new library and the link with the REP that will bring all sorts of performing arts together with the collections of the library.

See video of Gursh Chana




Ian Francis

Ian Francis, 36, from Balsall Heath

Ian runs Birmingham’s Flatpack Festival which is held in venues across the city every March. Ian also has a fascination with the overlaps between film and photography - particularly before and during the birth of cinema, through devices like the magic lantern, the zoetrope, the mutoscope and flip-book (which was patented in Birmingham). He has used the library for local studies work as he has put together walking tours about Birmingham's hidden history.

See video of Ian Francis





Seyi Kolade


Seyi Kolade, 34, from Harborne

Seyi has been a passionate advocate of libraries for many years. The resources and facilities at her local branch have helped her to overcome past difficulties and build her confidence and skill as a writer. She is excited about the performance areas in the Library of Birmingham as she feels through the connections to music and technology they will make the library more attractive to young people.

See video of Seyi Kolade


Jo Ind






Jo Ind, 48, from Kings Heath

Jo started researching her ancestors when the Birmingham Post, for whom she worked, launched a family history column. Her research at Central Library uncovered a wealth of fascinating facts about her family, including a relation to the famous prison reformer Elizabeth Fry. Jo thinks the Library of Birmingham is nothing less than what the people of Birmingham deserve: "Our library's put her bling on and she's moved on down to Broad Street”, she says.

See video of Jo Ind


Adrian Lester



Adrian Lester, 42, from Birmingham

Adrian was born and raised in Birmingham and first acted with Birmingham Youth Theatre, which included appearances at the Rep. Well known on our television screens from his appearances in Hustle and Merlin, his extensive theatre experience has included major roles in Sweeny Todd,Company, As You Like It, Six Degrees of Separation, Kiss of the Spider Woman, A Winter's Tale, and A Midsummer Night's Dream. He’ll be playing Othello at the National Theatre in 2013.

See video of Adrian Lester






Matthew Tye


Matthew Tye, 25, from Handsworth

Matthew is passionate about history and has used the library for research all his life, particularly into the First and Second World War Commonwealth archives and the Veterans of Handsworth and Stechford project. He is excited that new technology will open up the city’s treasures such as the collections of local community heritage histories to a wider audience, allowing people from all around the world to explore the collections and conduct their own research.

See video of Matthew Tye




The ‘Faces’ of the Library of Birmingham will feature on promotional material for the new library, including the website. Their individual stories will be used to highlight the many diverse services to be provided by the Library of Birmingham, and, as honorary ‘ambassadors’ they will be involved in promotional activity and spreading the word about the library to their local communities.


Rewriting the Book - see all the Faces of the Library of Birmingham

Rewriting the Book - The Library of Birmingham