The new Library of Birmingham will have a ‘digital jukebox’ from 2013 to enable visitors to watch everything from classic films to TV documentaries and home movies.
The BFI Mediatheque will be run in partnership with the British Film Institute which introduced the system in London in 2007.
Viewing stations will enable users to view content taken from one of the world’s most significant film and television collections.
The Mediatheque’s current collection includes more than 1,500 titles, more than 85% of which are unavailable anywhere else.
In Birmingham, local partners Media Archive for Central England and Screen West Midlands will help to provide a fascinating record of the region’s people, places, history and creativity.
BFI director Amanda Nevill said: “Film provides such a tantalising view of how people lived, worked and played in the past.
“The public is clamouring to see it and the job of the BFI is to make the UK’s collection of archive film and television more widely and easily available to everyone, regardless of where they live or where the material is held.
“We are several steps closer to giving people the chance to experience and enjoy unprecedented access to their national film and television heritage.”
Brian Gambles, Birmingham City Council's assistant director for culture and head of libraries, said: “The Library of Birmingham aims to embrace digital technology, and this resource is certain to become an exciting and invaluable attraction.
“The BFI Mediatheque will provide access to one of the world’s largest film archives. We look forward to enhancing it by chronicling Birmingham’s proud history and culture.”
Typical of the kind of archive films that will be accessible at the mediatheque is this 1902 athletics match at Edgbaston cricket ground in Birmingham.
The Birmingham Athletic Club Festival took place a couple of months after the ground hosted its first ever Test Match, against Australia.
It was one of many events filmed by Mitchell & Kenyon and shown at Waller Jeffs Cinematography show at Curzon Hall in Birmingham.
Adrian Chiles narrates the footage, which comes from the BFI Mitchell & Kenyon collection and is shown courtesy of the BFI National Archive.
For more about the Mitchell & Kenyon collection, visit the BFI website