The opening date for the new £188.8 million Library of Birmingham has been revealed by developers.
The new library will open on Tuesday September 3, 2013, after Carillion, principal contractor for the project, hands over the building to Birmingham City Council in April next year.
A competition has been launched to nominate the first book to be placed on the library’s shelves ahead of the official opening.
While construction is drawing to a close, work begins on installing and testing all the IT, catering and technical systems and on the staff training programme next month.
Meanwhile, Nexus will begin the mammoth task of transferring over 1.5 million books and 24 kilometres of shelves of precious archive and heritage collections.
It is estimated that 1,100 crates of books – a total of 66,000 crates - will be brought into the new Library every day for three months.
Placed end to end, the library’s books would stretch from Birmingham to Edinburgh.
Library users are being asked to nominate the first book to be placed onto the Library of Birmingham’s shelves, a hugely symbolic celebration of the continued importance of the printed word in this library for the future.
Nominators should tweet to @libraryofbham, using the hashtag #LoB1stbook, with their choice and reason why it should be the first book to be added to the collection.
Nominations will be posted on the Library of Birmingham’s blog and the winner will be invited to come along on the day and add their personal selection to the library.
The closing date for entries is April 30, 2012.
Councillor Mike Whitby, leader of Birmingham City Council, said: “We are enormously proud of everyone who is helping to deliver the project on time and under budget.
"This striking landmark building will be home to state-of-the-art facilities and will transform the concept we have of a library for the 21st century. It will be enjoyed by Birmingham’s many communities and visitors to the city for years to come.”
Coun Whitby nominated William Golding’s Lord of the Flies as the first book on the shelves.
He said: “My vote has to be for William Golding’s Lord of the Flies. I first read it as a young man, and what certainly impressed me was Golding’s portrayal of how thin the veneer of civilization is – and how watchful we need to be to preserve our democracy.”
Central Library houses the city’s internationally important 6,000 or more archive collections, two million photographic stills, more than 150,000 items of music, and rare books.
More than 8,000 of the library’s rare books were printed before 1700 and include a Shakespeare First Folio, Audubon’s Birds Of America, one of the world’s largest books, and three perfect copies of Cordiale or the Four Last Thinges printed in 1479 by William Caxton.