Northfield and Frankley Libraries at risk under city council closure plans - The Bromsgrove Standard

Northfield and Frankley Libraries at risk under city council closure plans

Bromsgrove Editorial 16th Apr, 2024   0

A TOTAL of 10 of Birmingham’s libraries, including Frankley and Northfield, are at risk of closure in the wake of the city council’s dire financial straits.

Birmingham City Council (BCC) have recently announced a consultation to help inform the future of libraries across the city, while the council’s proposed new model could lead to major changes and closures to services.

Under the council’s recommended new mixed delivery model, they believe retaining up to 25 community libraries is a possibility with some open five days a week and others with reduced opening hours.

The retention of services will also be reliant on community organisations taking on responsibility for running libraries via community asset transfer.

BCC’s mixed delivery model would also aim to retain early intervention and prevention services within libraries, as well as the city’s central library, virtual (digital) library offering, mobile library service, and libraries at home.

It’s prison library service would also be retained and delivered through central government funding grants.




Through the consultation, the council have offered up other alternative delivery models. One would see libraries reduced to a minimum of 11 community hubs open six days a week with other libraries ran by community groups.

And another would see libraries reduced to six hubs with investment in ‘co-located’ larger spaces and an expansion of the council’s digital and mobile offering.


Birmingham City Council has a £10 million backlog of maintenance costs in order to finance the upkeep or necessary refurbishments of its owned library buildings.

They have identified Northfield Library as low suitability due to the buildings condition and necessary maintenance costs. Frankley Library is run in a building not owned by BCC.

Despite it’s ‘low suitability’, Northfield Library has over 66,000 members, of which over 1,000 have joined in the last 12 months. The service has also issued over 40,000 items in the same period.

Frankley Library, has over 9,600 members and has issued over 5,400 items in the previous 12 months. A total of 171 new members have joined the library in the same period.

Northfield’s MP, Gary Sambrook, has launched his own petition to vie for the survival of libraries in Frankley and Northfield.

He said: “Our local libraries are vital community hubs used by tens of thousands of residents locally.”

The consultation launched on April 4 and closes on July 17.

Visit https://www.birminghambeheard.org.uk/adults-communities/lc24/ for more information and to take part in the consultation.

Visit https://www.garysambrook.co.uk/campaigns/save-our-local-libraries for more information on Gary Sambrook MP’s petition.

 

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