Birmingham hopes British Library could protect flagship from cuts

Birmingham hopes British Library could protect flagship from cuts

Officials in Birmingham are hoping that a deal with the British Library could help protect the flagship Library of Birmingham from cuts.

According to a report in the Birmingham Post, the council is initiating talks which could see the Library of Birmingham become a regional centre for the London-based British Library. The report said that the city's council was in discussion with the British Library and "other potential backers".

However, a spokesperson for the British Library told The Bookseller it had not yet been approached by the council regarding the plans. They added: "The British Library already works closely in partnership with the Library of Birmingham through a range of projects, including its Business & IP Centre, and looks forward to continuing that close relationship."

Birmingham council announced last month that more than half of the library's 188 staff could lose their jobs, while opening hours could be slashed from 73 to just 40 hours a week. The council announced the potential cuts as part of a raft of measures designed to save £117m from its budget this year. Other planned cuts to the city's library service were announced early last year. The central library, which cost £188m, was opened in September 2013.

Meanwhile York has celebrated the opening of its new archives centre -York Explore Library Learning Centre - this week. The £2.1m project was backed with more than £1.5m from the Heritage Lottery Fund, with the rest of the funding coming from York City Council. The project sees the city's historic archives, which includes York's first charter, moving from inadequate rooms at the York Art Gallery to a refurbished space, incorporating a local history library and family history centre.

Last year, the city's library service was transferred from the council to Explore, a not-for-profit society established to run the service.