Birmingham City Council have said that “there is no alternative”. Yet, millions of pounds are poured into the city’s commercial district, athletics matches and other pet projects.
Less than two years after opening, the £188m Library of Birmingham has become the city’s white elephant and the 38 community libraries are under equal threat. Every day, queues of disappointed citizens – of all ages, all ethnicities, employed and unemployed – mark the loss caused by the cuts to staff, opening hours, and outreach work. Like the rest of the national austerity agenda, library cuts are ideologically inspired, and will affect the poorest the most.
We cannot stand for this. It is not good enough for the people of Birmingham.
WHAT IS HAPPENING TO THE LIBRARY OF BIRMINGHAM?
– Staff redundancies equivalent to 90 full-time posts have forced massive cuts to opening hours
– No new books; no business and IT advice; not enough access to study space and PCs
– No community outreach: no story times for children; no schools events or holiday activities
– Limited access to the internationally important City and Photography Archives and Special Collections
WHAT IS PROPOSED FOR BIRMINGHAM’S COMMUNITY LIBRARIES?
The uncertainty on the future of these 38 libraries continues. The plans include:
– Closures and reduced hours
– Many staff redundancies
– Few new book purchases
– Reduced services, in some cases only machine operated book issue
– Libraries hived off on the road to eventual privatisation
JOIN US: Saturday 13th June,12 noon at the Bullring, or 12.30 at the Council House. Meet at the Bullring, outside Waterstones at 12 noon. We will march down New Street, to the Council House in Victoria Square for a rally at 12.30 with speeches, songs, poetry and performances, representing the city’s rich cultural and political character.