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Library of Birmingham rally to call for halt in cuts

Friends of The Library of Birmingham have organised event to coincide with National Library Day and to campaign against proposed slashing of opening hours

A rally will be held next month to call on the city council to reverse its decision to cuts the opening hours of the Library of Birmingham.

Local crime writer Judith Cutler and historian Professor Carl Chinn will be guest speakers while Birmingham-born poet Benjamin Zephaniah has sent a message of support which will be read out at the event on February 7, also National Library Day.

In December, Birmingham City Council so it was proposing to make around 100 redundancies and reduce opening hours from 73 to 40 as a result of budget cuts at the council.

The rally has been organised by the Friends of The Library of Birmingham and will start at midday in Centenary Square.

Local musicians, poets and storytellers will also join with the public to perform at the rally which is aiming to celebrate Birmingham's libraries and will call for Birmingham City Council to think again about next year's proposed cuts.

The Friends are encouraging attendees to turn up dressed as their favourite literary character.

An invitation has been sent to city council leader Sir Albert Bore and cabinet member for learning Coun Penny Holbrook to accept the a 5,000-signature petition calling for the library cuts to be reversed.

A spokesman for the Friends said: "'While the council decides on its final budget for 2015/16, this public rally is intended to remind them of the huge public support for public libraries in this city.

"We are calling on the council to listen to what people have told them during the budget consultation and to reverse the proposed library cuts."

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