Basket

The Future of the Library of Birmingham

Birmingham must work hard to find a resolution to the funding of the library and ensure the continuation of its service without any reduction at all in its opening hours.

The 3,000 strong petition against the recently announced library cuts shows the importance the Library of Birmingham has to the city’s people. It is the biggest library in Europe but its future looks uncertain due to recent cuts announced in public funding.

Lunar Society Chairman, Waheed Saleem said “Birmingham must work hard to find a resolution to the funding of the library and ensure the continuation of its service”.

A public meeting regarding the future of the Library of Birmingham was held on Wednesday the 7th January after the council announced the need to save £1.5m from the library budget in 2015/16 and a total of £4m by 2018.

The building, which only opened 18 months ago, has brought a sense of national and international pride to the city of Birmingham. Despite claiming the public’s vote, The Library of Birmingham narrowly missed out on winning the UK’s leading architecture prize – the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA).

“The Library of Birmingham is an important landmark for the city and a great resource for Birmingham’s citizens, it is important that it continues to operate at its full capacity. This is a drastic reduction to the cities essential service” said Waheed Saleem.

It is feared that cuts to the Library of Birmingham will have a negative impact on the young people of Birmingham, their access to educational resources and also have a negative impact on tourism in Birmingham.

The British Library is one entity that has shown interest in saving the Library of Birmingham by using it as a regional centre although they have not yet been approached.

If Birmingham City Council is to successful cut the cost without reducing its operational capacity then an arrangement with the British Library or another backer would need to be established. The council has been under pressure since announcing the plans to cut the library’s opening hours from 73 to 40 hours per week to reduce the library’s £10 million annual running costs.

"The Library of Birmingham is an important landmark for the city and a great resource for Birmingham’s citizens…"