Massive cutbacks proposed at Library of Birmingham

Massive cutbacks proposed at Library of Birmingham

More than half the staff at the flagship Library of Birmingham will lose their jobs, while opening hours are slashed, under new money-saving plans proposed by Birmingham City Council.

The £183m library opened to great acclaim in September 2013, but new plans will see 100 of the library's 188 staff members made redundant, while opening hours will nearly halve, from 73 to 40 hours a week.

Altogether, the council is looking to make savings of £117m from its budget next year. Planned cuts include 1,100 jobs across the entire council in the next year, rising to 6,000 job losses by 2018.

Birmingham previously raised the idea of cuts to its library service of £2m in January this year, which saw several local libraries facing closure, while funding for exhibitions at the Library of Birmingham was slashed.

Cabinet member for culture on Birmingham Council told the Birmingham Post: "It is with a heavy heart that we go out to consultation on budget cuts for the Library of Birmingham, that could impact on opening hours, staffing numbers and the variety of services offered. We are proud of the building and the warm welcome it has received locally, nationally and internationally since opening in September 2013. However, the financial position of the library leaves us with no other feasible option but to put forward these proposals."

When the library opened in September 2013, with Malala Youzafsai officially opening the building, director Brian Gambles said the library, which was approved for construction before the financial crisis hit, was: "a library that will serve the needs of the city for decades, perhaps centuries It is well worth the money."

Members of the public are invited to respond to a consultation on the possible cuts, before the council makes a full decision in the new year.