PRESS RELEASE FROM FRIENDS OF THE CENTRAL LIBRARY: 9.1.08

A seven-page document rebutting a number of derogatory factually incorrect statements made in the media about the Central Library by the City Council has been presented to Friends of the Central Library by John Madin, architect of the Central Library. Mr Madin was the senior partner in the John Madin Design Group that designed the existing Library after many years of research into libraries both in the UK and United States and after working very closely with the City Council’s own distinguished Chief Librarian at the time Mr. W. A. Taylor.

Friends of the Central Library will be passing this important piece of evidence to Councillor Alistair Dow, Chairman of Scrutiny, to assist Councillors currently engaged in questioning the viability of the Library of Birmingham project. 

Mr Madin says, “ it is a very serious matter to make false statements in public about the library for no other reason than to justify its demolition” 

Alan Clawley, Secretary of the Friends, adds, “If Birmingham’s Central Library was a person it would by now have taken the City Council to court for defamation of character. Honest criticism is of course fair game and is expected by those who put their name to works of art in the public domain. But, it is unacceptable for the City Council to ignore Mr Madin’s repeated attempts to correct its factual errors and go on publishing them in the media. Long-lived corporate public bodies, such as local authorities, have a duty to honour past commitments. It cannot be right for each new generation of public servants and elected members, anxious to forge their own reputations, to disregard the past and make up their own stories to explain what they have inherited from it. That seems to be what is happening in Birmingham”. 

We believe, like Mr Madin, that the case for retaining and extending the existing Central Library has been seriously distorted by the Council in order to justify its demolition thereby opening the way for the Paradise Circus site to be sold to a private developer.