Rally to show public support the Library of Birmingham announced for 7th February 2014

Rally to show public support the Library of Birmingham announced for 7th February 2014

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Press release
Issued by Friends of The Library of Birmingham (FoLoB) 
Contact details: friendsoflibraryofbirmingham@gmail.com

A public rally will be held outside the new Library of Birmingham  (LoB ) on Saturday 7th February which is National Library Day. It will be held in support of Birmingham’s Public Libraries. The Rally will start at 12pm. 

Many hundreds of members of the public are expected to turn up to hear Birmingham leading historian Professor Carl Chinn speak. Award winning Birmingham born poet Benjamin Zephaniah has sent a message of support & this will message will be read out.

Local musicians, poets and storytellers will join with the public to perform at the rally. And tell of their love of this library & their community libraries.

The rally will celebrate Birmingham’s libraries and will call for Birmingham City
Council to think again about next years proposed budget cuts to the new Library of Birmingham along with Community Libraries.

There will be a symbolic hug of the LoB and people will link arms around the 
front of the library. We invite the public to get in the spirit by dressing as their favourite Literary character.

An invitation has been sent to Sir Albert Bore & Cllr Penny Holbrook to accept the 5000 plus strong petition calling for the library cuts to be reversed. We hope they take up this request & meet us & hear the views of the Birmingham public. 

The rally has so far received wide support from the West Midlands Pensioners Convention, Friends of Birmingham Archive and Heritage, Birmingham UNISON and groups representing local readers and writers.

The rally is being organised by the Friends of the Library of Birmingham and a
spokesperson for the campaign said:

‘While the Council decides on its final budget for 2015-16 this public rally is intended to
remind them of the huge public support for public libraries in this city.

We are calling on the Council to listen to what people have told them during the budget
consultation and to reverse the proposed library cuts.’

This event has happened because the public have said they want to show their support for the award winning LoB & all our community libraries & the great staff who make these libraries so important in so many people’s lives.

Background

1. FoLoB is an umbrella of campaigns and individuals all  concerned about the future of Public Libraries in Birmingham. Originally formed to stop the privatisation of the new Library of Birmingham we have been working with other groups to campaign against the impact of budget cuts on our community library service and most recently to oppose the proposed cuts to the LoB

FoLoB submission to the Budget consultation:

https://birminghamlibrariescampaigns.wordpress.com/2015/01/13/invest-in-our-city-our-futures-reverse-your-proposed-cuts-to-the-library-of-birmingham-our-community-libraries/

2. The Council is finalising its forthcoming Budget after a public consultation period which
ended on 12th January 2015. Birmingham City Council have made budget proposals
including a £1.5m cut to the LoB of for 2015-16. These cuts rise to £3.3 million the
following year. Birmingham has invested £188 million in this library & will continue to pay £12m pa in debt charges.

The effects of cutting the running costs of the LoB will be:

1. Slashing the hours of the library by 40%. No Sunday opening. 
Stopping new books purchases
The ending of school visits, children’s book groups and holiday activities
4. Restricting open access to the archives to scholars & researchers of all sorts
5. Reducing to nothing library outreach work & in-house exhibitions & displays.
6. Placing 100 library workers at risk of redundancy.
7. Limiting the housebound & community library service of expert help
8. No specialist help for small businesses and job seekers

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