Alan Clawley writes in The Stirrer [24.2.09]:

If Councillor Whitby and his colleagues do find the £189 million for the new library how can they tell the people of Birmingham that there is no money to spend on the Council’s own historic buildings such as Highbury Hall, Moseley Road Baths, the Friends Institute, and Small Heath Park?

Birmingham already has a popular and fully operational central library housed in a modern building that was designed with great care by its architect John Madin after years of research; City councillors should reflect on how £4million could have been used for its much-needed refurbishment.

It is surely irresponsible for the Council to press ahead with a new library in the face of growing economic uncertainty, exposed to factors beyond its control, hoping for the best while spending Council taxpayers money with abandon.

No one would blame them for scrapping the whole thing now and using what money they have on more down-to-earth projects instead.