Books in a hut in the garden, books in the Hall, books in sheds, books in nooks and crannies, even books in Birmingham. Before 1995 the Shakespeare Institute Library was crammed into the Institute building, Mason Croft, which was bursting at the seams.
After a tireless fundraising campaign lead by the Librarian, Dr. Susan Brock, which included a benefit performance at the Swan Theatre by John Moffatt, Richard Pasco and Dame Judi Dench as well as many financial gifts, the Institute received a very generous donation from architect V.H. (Johnnie) Johnson. He also created a beautiful new design for the Library, complementing the existing eighteenth-century buildings.
Work commenced in the autumn of 1994 and was completed in 1995, including landscaping the gardens which soon looked as if the building had always been there.
The Shakespeare Institute finally had a purpose-built Library, large enough to hold its entire collection of books, audio-visual material and archives.
Sadly Johnnie Johnson died before the Library was opened but his generosity and talents have been appreciated by hundreds of students and academic visitors over the years and will continue to be for many years to come.
Throughout 2015 we’ll be blogging more about the history of our wonderful library in our anniversary year. Keep posted…
Kate Welch, Information Assistant (who assisted in the setting up of the current library 20 years ago!)