The Library of Birmingham was one of the UK’s top ten tourist attractions in 2014 – and the only one outside London. This would seem to indicate that the fortunes of the library are on the up, but look a little closer and this is revealed to be far from the case. Despite this popularity, the building is in crisis.
Since its opening in September 2013, the Library of Birmingham has become increasingly beleaguered, despite such high visitor numbers. Within six months, it was deemed “unfit for purpose” and “farcical” by seething patrons, who found books inaccessible because staff couldn’t reach them. Fast-forward to the end of 2014 – and a squeeze on council resources meant that the flagship library was facing the threat of slashed opening hours and 100 redundancies.
A recent statement by Birmingham city council suggested that the British Library might use the Library of Birmingham as a regional hub, potentially saving it from the crisis. This claim was swiftly denied by the British Library....more
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