Protect The Library of Birmingham’s Unique Collections of Photographs - Paul Hill
Birmingham City Council is proposing swingeing cuts at the recently opened Library of Birmingham reducing the whole library hours to 40 hours per week and staffing by just over 50 percent by April 2015.
When I, and other depositors, who include such renowned British photographic figures as Daniel Meadows, Martin Parr, John Blakemore, Brian Griffin, Vanley Burke, John Myers, Nick Hedges, and Val Williams, agreed to the library acquiring our archives or collections we were assured that they would be accessible to the public as well as specialist researchers.
As the proposal currently stands there will be no Photography Collections Team. Indeed there may not be anyone left with any specialist knowledge of these nationally and internationally significant collections in the near future. There will be no conservation department to undertake the vital work of preserving these fragile treasures, there will be little if any cataloguing undertaken, and the exhibition programme will disappear entirely.
The emphasis in the new structure is on maintaining “counter transactions” to the exclusion of other activities.
Obviously, we are all very upset by the council’s proposals and would appreciate any support you can give by signing this petition. Please think about contributing to the consultation process too, so that Birmingham City Council becomes aware of their obligations to protect, conserve and exhibit these prestigious photography collections. The public knows how important photography is to our personal and cultural lives, but it seems the council does not.
The public consultation process on the proposals is open until 12th January.
Library of Birmingham Budget Consultation
In line with other City Council services, the Library of Birmingham has to find significant budget savings for 2015/16.
Our proposals to achieve these savings are part of the City Council’s budget consultation, and are set out below.
1 Opening hours at the Library of Birmingham will be reduced from 73 per week to 40, with effect from 1st April 2015.
2 Events and exhibitions will stop unless they can be externally funded.
3 Business support, learning, children’s, reading, music and archive services other than counter transactions will cease, except where external funding can be identified.
4 Outreach and community engagement work will cease, except where external funding can be identified.
5 The budget to buy new books will be further reduced.
Have your say
The City Council wants to know what you think about these proposals.
The best way to have your say is by completing the online survey.
The Library of Birmingham is unique amongst UK public libraries for the depth and range of its collections. This unique status has been recognised by the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA) who have awarded six of its collections ’ designated’ status.
This means that they are recognised as having national and international significance as library and archive collections. The latest round of designation applications was open to libraries and archives for the first time. Previously the process had been for museums only.
Nationally, 38 collections were designated in 28 institutions and included only 2 other public libraries, Bristol and Westminster who were designated for one collection each. The panel stated that ’The quality, range and depth of Birmingham’s collections reflect its status as Britain’s second city’ and that the designation application ’clearly demonstrates [the collections’] broader significance in terms of the social, industrial, commercial and cultural history of the city, the region, and the nation’.
Birmingham city council
Protect The Library of Birmingham’s Unique Collections of Photographs.
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