The latest faces chosen to represent the Library of Birmingham have been revealed.
The six inspirational stories will be used to show how a library can transform lives ahead of the opening of the £190 million facility in 2013 when it replaces Birmingham Central Library.
Among the honorary ambassadors is Handsworth campaigner Eunice McGhie-Belgrave, who has dedicated her life to cleaning up her neighbourhood. The great-grandmother, now aged 77, started up her Shades of Black project in the wake of the Handsworth riots of 1985.
Since then, the project has helped hundreds of disadvantaged children from Handsworth and now Stechford learn about life’s basics like growing vegetables on allotment plots.
Big-hearted Eunice has won a clutch of accolades for her efforts, including an MBE, Pride of Britain award in 2009 and a Birmingham Mail Local Heroes award from the Birmingham Post’s sister paper in 2003.
She said of her new role: “I saw a piece asking for people to apply. “I’m very proud to be representing my community and the new Library of Birmingham.”
Also among the new ambassadors is Malaysian-born language teacher Saadiah Harun Kilburn, 50, who met her husband while researching her dissertation at Central Library.
The others picked for the role are Thomas O’Flaherty, from Hockley, Ian Myatt, from Sutton Coldfield, Gary Baker, also from Sutton, and Steven Woodhouse and his carer Trevor Boddington, both from Bordesley Green.
Thomas, 43, uses Birmingham Central Library to study Mandarin and Russian, while Ian, head of knowledge and learning for BBC Online, fostered his love of all things digital at the same venue.
Gary was chosen after starting his own internet marketing company from home after turning to the library’s Business Resource Centre for ideas after being made redundant.
Steven, who is 44 and has cerebral palsy and epilepsy, often visits Birmingham Central Library with carer Trevor, 42, to research ideas for art projects, which include transforming household junk replicas of their favourite childhood toys.
Now the search is on to find the remaining six ambassadors.
To apply, visit www.rewritingthebook.com.
To see video profiles of each of the faces of the Library of Birmingham mentioned in this article, click on their names below: