Public campaign saves two libraries – but one to close and staff numbers cut

The campaign by Friends of the Libraries of Birmingham has been key to saving two libraries – Aston and Sutton Coldfield.

The Library Lobby protest against the proposed closure of Sutton Coldfield Library

Extracts with thanks from Birmingham Post report by Neil Elkes, 7 February:

Two community libraries have been spared the axe but a third is in the firing line under revised plans from Birmingham council chiefs.

Plans to shut Aston Library have now been dropped entirely and Sutton Coldfield Library has been given a stay of execution until the end of August while talks to secure its long term future carry on.

Meanwhile the Kents Moat Library off The Meadway in Garretts Green will be closed and services transferred to the nearby Glebe Farm Farm library.

More than 2,000 people responded to plans to restructure Birmingham’s library service and cut £1.9 million from the budget during three months of consultation.

The threat to Sutton Coldfield Library prompted a 6,500 name petition and, crucial to its preservation, was a pledge of £150,000 funding from the Sutton Coldfield Town Council to keep it afloat.

Initial plans to shut Aston Library and beef up the nearby Birchfield facility have been scrapped entirely.

And, according to library bosses, residents suggested the closure of Kents Moat Library as part of the plan to regenerate the Poolway Shopping parade in which it is based.

It means that 36 out of 37 community libraries in Birmingham will remain open.

Further to the closures there will be increased spending on the book fund, up from £140,000 per year to £380,000 as well as investment in new technology and maintenance of facilities.

Staff numbers will be cut from 112 to 99 full time equivalent staff.

See Birmingham Post for libraries’ new hours at http://www.birminghampost.co.uk/news/regional-affairs/two-birmingham-libraries-been-saved-12565617?ptnr_rid=407789&icid=EM_BirminghamPost_Nletter_News_smallteaser_Text_Story7

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