Imperial War Museum library 'facing closure'

Imperial War Museum library 'facing closure'

Staff at the Imperial War Museum have launched a petition to protect the institution's library from budget cuts which could force it to close.

More than 1,500 people have signed the petition on, which urges chancellor George Osborne to reverse the cuts to the museum's grant in aid, which would leave it with an annual deficit of £4m. Under plans, the museum's library could be closed with its collection disposed of, while up to 60 jobs could be lost with education services also slashed.

Members of the Prospect union at the museum have launched the petition. It states: "Since it was founded in 1917 the IWM has been recognised internationally as a leading authority on conflict. Following a major refurbishment coinciding with the centenary of the start of the First World War, it now faces an annual deficit of £4m and the loss of up to 80 staff, its vital library and the function it carries out. I call on you to ensure that IWM is provided with adequate funds to maintain the services it provides to its visitors and to maintain its standing as an international centre for study, research and education."

The library made its first acquisition in 1917, a programme for a pantomime staged by 85th Ambulance in Salonika. It has a unique collection of documents related to military conflicts.

Earlier this year, the museum was reopened after a £40m refurbishment.

The Imperial War Museum did not respond to The Bookseller's request for comment.