COMMENT FROM THE FRIENDS OF THE LIBRARY OF BIRMINGHAM ON THE RELOCATION OF THE BRASSHOUSE LANGUAGE CENTRE TO THE LIBRARY OF BIRMINGHAM
As the Cabinet meets to discuss the move of the Brasshouse Centre into the new Library, the Library campaign is concerned that the move is being used to mask even bigger cuts to come in 2016. A further cut of £3.1m will be made to the Library of Birmingham next year following cuts of £1.3m in 2015. Despite this, huge sums are to be borrowed and spent on this move, greater than the savings claimed to be needed from cuts to LoB. How can borrowing and spending huge sums on this move be justified?
The loss of the first floor to the Language Centre will entail a major loss of space from the library, and it is important to note that this will be a permanent loss, accelerating the move of LoB from a public library to a tenanted services building with a small and restricted library service tucked away in a corner. Significant amounts of study space are planned to be lost, and the relocation of services within the remaining space will make the library cramped and congested.
The restoration of the opening hours to a very limited self service facility within a small restricted area does not make up for the loss of over half the library staff who have been made redundant.
The consultation being undertaken by the Council on these changes does not set out clearly to the public the likely impact of a massive loss of space within the library – the consultation is not fit for purpose and should be re-run.
A spokesperson for the campaign said
“Anyone using the library knows that study space is already at a premium. In future people will spend more time competing for fewer desk spaces which will be concentrated into a smaller space within the library, making it more congested and less conducive to study.”