The original public library for the City of London was on Cannon street and was flattened by bombs in World War II. After the war, there was a desire to give back to the state and the Barbican Center was envisioned for the people.
The Barbican Library was opened in 1982 – twenty years after the 1964 Public Library Act which replaced just private libraries. It is a public library in the City of London and is funded by the government and its own fundraising. Although only 9,000 people live in the City of London, more than 30,000 people come through everyday for work. Therefore, the library gets lots of foot traffic and outside visitors. Their average user is aged 25-45 and they generally serve more males than females. Their non-fiction section is the most utilized. These statistics are very different than the average public library around the UK.
Due to its location, the library contains a large financial section as well having a large art section because it is in an art center. The library is open 47 hours a week, but has 24/7 online resources that can be accessed from home.
One of the most unique features of the Barbican Library is its extensive music library. This part of the library opened in 1983 and is an important aspect of the library because London has a very large music scene and it has two large music colleges within the City of London. The music library collaborates with music organizations to create exhibitions, many of which are high profile.
The music library also has a large CD and DVD section. Most DVDs that are checked out are operas. They even have a section for free CD loan that contains unsigned, local artists. The library chooses its CDs based on reviews.
The adult section of the Barbican Library has an exhibition space for local artists, two self service machines, and an area to promote London events. Lastly, the Barbican Library has an impressive kids section that contains many programs for youth.