It is an impossible task to make a silk purse out of the sow's ear that is the Library of Birmingham – but that's no reason not to try.
Making sense of a library which spends far more on interest than it does on books is an unenviable proposition.
But for more reasons than one it is vital that a vision for the £188 million building is created that chimes with the private sector.
The end of the road for the Library of Birmingham Development Trust, established by former council leader Lord Whitby to boost its income, is endemic of how the library dream sold to Birmingham became something closer to a nightmare.
It started off with ambitions that were never likely to be realised, its construction was signed off despite the scheme being ludicrously costly, austerity cuts made it near impossible to attract investment and now the council is left holding the baby all on its own.
And if you were looking for the ideal owner of Birmingham’s biggest attraction, it would not be Birmingham City Council.
In truth, the authority, and particularly culture chief Penny Holbrook, is doing what it can. Deals with Google and the Brasshouse Language Centre start to make sense of such a grand building – but it remains a drag.
Interest payments on the library cost Birmingham £1 million every month. That is £33,000 every day or £1,370 every hour for interest alone. Permit me a tabloid moment: FOR INTEREST ALONE.
You can double that for the overall cost. That would buy you a lot of social workers.
But we are stuck with it – so we need to make the most of it.
The end of the trust cannot be the end of philanthropy and private sector support for the library.
Libraries across Europe – none of which have enjoyed the level of public investment Birmingham’s have – enjoy millions of pounds a year support from grateful local businesses.
With a plethora of universities in easy reach, not to mention the Paradise and Arena Central developments in spitting distance, opportunities should be abound for support.
Clearly, they have not been thus far.
But we must go again. Someone must pave a path for the library that engages with philanthropists or the private sector or we will all (continue to) pay for it.