Members from the West Midlands Writers’ Guild joined protestors on Saturday (7 February 2015) to protest against proposed cuts to the new, award-winning Library of Birmingham (above).
Only 18 months after opening the £188-million library, Birmingham City Council is planning to cut budgets by £1.5 million. Opening hours will be slashed by 40% and there are plans for 100 staff redundancies.
The West Midlands Writers’ Guild has been campaigning against the cuts since they were announced at the end of last year.
They joined the rally, which took place on National Libraries Day, and saw Birmingham-born poet Benjamin Zephaniah give a message of support. Local musicians, poets and storytellers took part alongside the public, who were invited to attend dressed as their favourite literary character and to share stories of how libraries in the city have made a difference to their lives.
West Midlands Writers’ Guild Chair William Gallagher, talking before the event, said: “It is a rally, it is a protest and it is needed – but it’s also been heartening to be in the city as the buzz about it builds. This is going to be a crucial step in our fight to keep the Library of Birmingham yet it is also very much a celebration of something that matters so much to us all.”
Photo of Birmingham Library: William Gallagher