Major public opposition to the cuts to Birmingham’s Libraries overridden by Council
The people of Birmingham spoke up loudly and numerously in support of library services in the city during the Council’s recent budget consultation and in opposition to the cuts the Library of Birmingham.
Birmingham City Council has published details of the responses from the public to the consultation on its Budget proposals showing that the public did respond in significant numbers on the savings proposals for the Library of Birmingham and that 80% of those that responded were opposed to the library cuts.
The Council report summarising the public responses to the consultation states there were a huge number of submissions against the cut in library staff and hours including the electronic petition, the paper-based petition which was signed by over 1,500 people and a large public meeting of over 200 people.
Friends of the Library of Birmingham has criticised Cllr Penny Holbrook, the Cabinet member for Culture and Leisure, for ignoring the public support the Library of Birmingham.
‘In publishing the Council’s Budget for 2015-16 which has confirmed massive cuts to the opening hours to the Library of Birmingham, the Labour Group has chosen to ignore the expressed views of the people of Birmingham on this matter. This is undemocratic and unfair.
We will continue to campaign and to call for the cuts to both the Library of Birmingham and the Community Libraries to be reversed and expect continuing public support.
The Library campaign stands by its comments about the impact of these library cuts made in its budget submission and which are quoted in the Council Report:
The submission states that the large cut in staff numbers and hours of opening will deny access to many people to opportunities to learn individually and collectively and to connect with the growing number of services available through the internet. It states ‘the opening hours and the connectivity and the staff expertise are central to the modern citizen’s ability properly to engage with not only their community but with the wider world’ and that the library is ‘an emblematic sign that Birmingham is open for business, open for ideas and most definitely open – all of the time – for the future of the residents and their families’.
The report quoted from is as follows:
Pp 54-57 Budget Consultation 2015+ Final Report (BCC February 2015) accessed athttp://www.birmingham.gov.uk/brumbudget15