People who use the LoB need to consider urgently responding to the Council’s consultation on the move of the Brasshouse Language Centre into the Library of Birmingham. The Language Centre will take over the first floor of the LoB. This will bring significant changes to the environment of the LoB and to our experience of using the library.
(click the Reports tab to download the pdfs)
The tenancies of the Institute of Directors, and Google are undesirable, as is that with The British library if they are to have space to do their own work separate from any genuine collaboration with LoB. But these arrangements are all temporary, in that they can be terminated. And these tenants all have somewhere else to go.
The Brasshouse move, though, is permanent. BCC is selling the Brasshouse premises. They will have nowhere else to go and BCC will not contemplate buying or renting other premises for them at some later date. So they are there forever. FoLoB see this as BCC giving up on LoB as a library. It will just be a giant hub with a mishmash of tenants and a much reduced library facility somewhere in the building.
Here are some issues FoLoB has identified. You may think of more. Please do share your concerns with us as well by e-mailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org
1. Opening hours
The Library of Birmingham opening hours will not be extended by 26 hours a week. Rather there will be a ‘self-service’ offer in a restricted area of the Library staffed by security.
It is unclear how much study space will be available in this space
2. Major loss of study space
Study space is already at a premium in the LoB. The consultation tells us there will be a loss of study space without specifying by how much.
This is likely to lead to a situation where library users will spend more time competing for a more limited number of study spaces and be concentrated into a more congested space.
3. The loss of the first floor
The first floor will be lost to the Library and the Business and Learning service currently situated there and will be relocated within the remainder of the library.
The physical environment and layout of the LoB is likely to change significantly as a result. This will adversely impact upon the library environment for study and research.
Together with the large volume of visitors the library will become an even busier place and a less conducive place to study.
4. Political spin
This move does not reverse any of the drastic cuts to staffing and existing library services made this year as the result of the £1.3m of cuts. A further 3.1m is planned to be cut from the LoB budget in £3.1m.
The Council wants to claim it has listened to our concerns by increasing the LoB’s opening hours. Overall this move could be a worse deal for library users and lead to a further deterioration in the service provided from the LoB.
5. The consultation
Normally when the Council undertakes a consultation it would include a written proposal on the detail of any changes and the likely impact of those changes.
Key information on the loss of floor space and loss of study space have been omitted. This means that as members of the public we are being asked to comment on important changes without being properly informed.
We need to tell the Council that the consultation is ‘not fit for purpose’.
Where to find the consultation:
To respond to the consultation it can be found here: