Primary school pupils bemoan proposed library losses

Bianca, a pupil at St Ambrose Barlow Catholic Primary School
Bianca said libraries gave people "the privilege of reading" [BBC]

Primary school pupils have described proposed cuts to library services as "really sad".

Twenty-five of Birmingham’s 35 community libraries were put under threat after the city council unveiled plans to cut funding.

The proposal was announced as part of the authority’s drive to make £300m of savings over the next two years after it effectively declared bankruptcy last year.

The council said it faced a significantly challenging financial situation and has to make “considerable budget savings” across its services.

St Ambrose Barlow Catholic Primary School uses Hall Green Library to help the children with their reading – one of the 25 libraries under threat.

Speaking to BBC Midlands Today, pupil Bianca said: “Many libraries have many books, so this allows people who may not be able to afford a book to have the privilege of reading.”

Rory, a pupil at St Ambrose Barlow Catholic Primary School
Rory said it would be "really sad" if libraries were to close [BBC]

Rory described libraries as “really amazing places” for people to go to.

“If you aren’t able to go there, it’s just really sad,” he said.

Headteacher John Clinton said closing libraries would disadvantage children who use them, adding: “If you limit their access to books, you limit their learning."

A protest against Birmingham City Council cuts
Protests were held in Birmingham over the proposed cuts [BBC]

Protests were held outside the council house in Birmingham on Tuesday as the campaign against the proposed cuts continued.

Kate Taylor, organiser of campaign group Brum Rise Up, called on the new Labour-led government to make more money available to local authorities.

“The councils prop up the people who live there and without that funding, without the services they rely on, their lives are going to fall apart,” she said.

Kate Taylor, organiser of Brum Rise Up
Kate Taylor, of Brum Rise Up, called on the government to make more funding available to councils [BBC]

The plan for the city's libraries are currently the subject of a public consultation, which runs until 17 July.

A final consultation is set to begin in late August and run into September, before a final decision is made.

Councillor Saima Suleman said the authority recognised the need for free access to information, culture and advice.

She added: “Like many other local councils, we continue to face a significantly challenging financial situation and are required to make considerable budget savings across all our services."

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