Campaigners plead with councillors to rethink plans to close twenty-five Birmingham libraries

  • ITV News Central's Lewis Warner speaks to campaigners hoping to keep Birmingham's libraries open

Campaigners are pleading with councillors in Birmingham to rethink plans to close 25 of the city's libraries as part of plans to balance its books.

The authority plans to cut services down to just one library for each of the 10 parliamentary constituencies in the city.

It's part of council plans to balance the books to save £300m over the next three years.

In an interview with ITV News Central, school librarian Caroline Chilton spoke about Kings Heath library: "It's massively important. When our students reach us at 11, the majority of children who come in are avid readers, say Kings Heath library was somewhere they grew up coming to."

When asked about the impact of a potential closure, Ms Chilton added: "Just devastated for the community, for all of us."

The remaining 11 would become joint library and neighbourhood advice hubs Credit: ITV News Central

There are currently 35 libraries in the city, plus the flagship Library of Birmingham located in Centenary Square.

Under the proposals, 25 would close, with the remaining 11 becoming joint library and neighbourhood advice hubs.

Kathy Hopkin from Save Birmingham said: "The Save Birmingham campaign is really encouraging people to register their assets as assets of community of value.

"That means if the council needs to sell those assets it puts a moratorium of 6 months of them being able to sell the building.

"Really gives the community a chance to talk to us to talk about community led options, and get together a business plan and looking running those services themselves."

The 35 existing libraries are located across the city, as follows:

  • Acocks Green library in Yardley constituency

  • Aston library in Ladywood

  • Balsall Heath library in Hall Green

  • Bartley Green library in Edgbaston

  • Birchfield library in Perry Barr

  • Boldmere library in Sutton Coldfield

  • Castle Vale library in Erdington

  • Druids Heath library in Selly Oak

  • Erdington library in Erdington

  • Frankley library in Northfield

  • Glebe Farm library in Hodge Hill

  • Hall Green library in Hall Green

  • Handsworth library in Perry Barr

  • Harborne library in Edgbaston

  • Kings Heath library in Hall Green

  • Kings Norton library in Northfield

  • Kingstanding library in Erdington

  • Library of Birmingham in Ladywood

  • Mere Green library in Sutton Coldfield

  • Northfield library in Northfield

  • Perry Common library in Perry Barr

  • Quinton library in Edgbaston

  • Shard End library in Hodge Hill

  • Sheldon library in Yardley

  • Small Heath library in Hodge Hill

  • South Yardley library in Yardley

  • Sparkhill library in Hall Green

  • Spring Hill library in Ladywood

  • Stirchley library in Selly Oak

  • Sutton Coldfield library in Sutton Coldfield

  • Tower Hill library in Perry Barr

  • Walmley library in Sutton Coldfield

  • Ward End library in Hodge Hill

  • Weoley Castle library in Northfield

  • Yardley Wood library in Yardley

Birmingham City Council says it is being open and transparent, but has declined make a comment today.

It's long-awaited budget proposal, which has already been delayed, will be revealed on Monday.

It's suspected to be the largest cut any local authority has ever made, with the following cuts anticipated:

  • £57m to disappear the children and families department.

  • £29m to be lost from the operations department which looks after things like roads and bins.

  • £15m to be cut from the council's own management - which accounts to a 50% cut - meaning hundreds of job losses.

  • Residents can also expect a possible council tax increase of 10% this year and the year after.

Full details will be unveiled on Monday.

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