central library cropped

Rumours of flooding in the building reached us but cannot be substantiated – have readers any information on this subject? An online search refers to the building being flooded with natural light – no complaint there.

It is alleged that there are structural faults but these are not being publicised. True or false?

Facts

Samantha Peace, the regional Health and Safety executive, explained in the Post a few months ago that problems which left staff unable to reach books was down to “bad planning” not safety issues. Thousands of books could not be accessed six months after it opened because it had not bought equipment to reach high shelves in the reference “stack” area.

Josh Allen, in the LRB blog, recalls that the shortfall in this library’s funding this year could be as much as £713,000. Cuts of £500,000 to the library’s services are pencilled in for next year with more to follow if the rest of the deficit can’t be made up from charity.

He notes that members of the council’s Labour group have attended trade union rallies protesting against the £12 million a year needed to service the loans taken out to build the library. The construction cost £187 million, but the council will pay back nearly £500 million before the debt is cleared in forty years’ time.

The only library left in Birmingham?

Pointing out that many of the city’s community libraries are now open only a few days a week, Josh Allen sees a danger that they will close altogether, and ‘the Library of Birmingham’ will become not only a name but a statement of fact.

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