Dear Editor, Last year, when other local authorities were criticised by authors and literary groups for closing libraries, Birmingham City Council announced it would not close any, but what it did not say was that it intends to reduce the number of library staff to a point were they will have difficulty providing even the most basic of services.
The council is imposing a cut of 28 per cent on libraries and other departments and an analysis of their future operating model shows that the main constituency libraries will have an average of only three staff on duty.
This represents a reduction in staff to half 2011 levels.
This is totally inadequate for libraries with a visitor count of 400-600 per day.
There will be 2.5 staff at the smaller community libraries to cope with 80-150 visitors per day. The use of self-service machines and volunteers will only have a small benefit.
To expect libraries with a similar number of staff to serve such a large difference in visitors is not logical.
I accept cuts will have to be made, but surely the remaining resources can be distributed in a smarter way than the one-size-fits-all system proposed.
We need to preserve as much as possible those services which are good and useful and to relinquish those which are under-utilised such as the neighbourhood libraries which have been an expensive mistake from the start.
The Birmingham Library Service has an excellent reputation built up over many decades. Let’s not throw it away.
John Pedder, Erdington