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From The Socialist newspaper, 24 June 2015

Labour wields Tory axe at Library of Birmingham

Clive Walder, Birmingham Socialist Party
Photo D Reid

Photo D Reid   (Click to enlarge)

150 people, a dalek, a crocodile and Mickey and Minnie Mouse protested on 13 June against cuts to the Library of Birmingham.

It will mean a reduction in opening hours from 73 a week to 40 and possibly the loss of up to 100 jobs.

The library, which has been open less than two years and cost 188 million, is seen as a cultural icon.

Visitors from Sydney and South Africa have expressed astonishment that Europe's largest public library, which houses unique archives, doesn't open until 11am. Reduced opening hours have already caused huge queues and disruption to those using its services.

Library cuts are a deliberate choice by the Tory government. However, the Labour cabinet member responsible for libraries submitted a lengthy statement saying that the cuts were made 'with a heavy heart'.

He claimed they were forced on the council by government spending limits and that they had to prioritise between frontline and non-essential services.

Consultation said 'no'

Birmingham council's own consultation about the library's future produced an overwhelming no to any cuts.

Thousands of working class people use the library like the unemployed to access job opportunities, the vulnerable to seek out details of support groups and even in the computer age large numbers of students and children still use them to study.

Speakers at the rally included Alan Gibbons, author and member of the National Libraries campaign, the library Unison steward, students who have been sitting in past closing time every Friday and Birmingham's Young Poet Laureate, who lambasted the Labour council for carrying out Tory cuts.

The council is also considering a ban on amplified open air speeches in the city centre, it's an obvious attempt to undermine demonstrations.

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In The Socialist 24 June 2015:


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City of London fills with defiance against austerity

After huge anti-austerity demos: organise the fightback!

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Youth Fight Austerity!

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Can Jeremy Corbyn's Labour leadership challenge help to develop the socialist left?

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Workplace news in brief

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Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Campaigning for the victims of police brutality

Wales: Local Government reorganisation threat

Scotland anti-austerity rally, Glasgow

Labour wields Tory axe at Library of Birmingham

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Growing the party in Sheffield

Socialist bake-off at London picnic


 

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Related links:

Birmingham:

triangleBirmingham SE Socialist Party: Not just kings and queens - How socialists look at history

triangleBirmingham South East Socialist Party: How important are trade unions today?

triangleBirmingham South East Socialist Party: What would a socialist economy look like?

triangleBirmingham Socialist Party: The origins of International Women's Day

triangleCouncil cuts could cost Labour another general election

Library:

triangleVictory for library workers after 241 days on strike!

triangleKeep the National Poetry Library free

triangleBradford library and museum strikers enter third round of strike action

triangleBromley libraries strikers proved right

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triangleUnion independence must be maintained - a reply to the TUC

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triangleBook: Why you should be a trade unionist by Unite general secretary Len McCluskey

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Libraries:

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