The People’s Palace is not for profit

New Central Library: Founding a Friends Group, Thursday 4 July


Birmingham New library rear June 2013

Everyone is invited to get involved in forming a Friends of the Library of Birmingham (LoB) group at a meeting on Thursday, 4th July at 7.30pm in Lecture Room 2 at the Birmingham Conservatoire, Paradise Place, Fletchers Walk, Birmingham B3 3HG.

£188 million has been invested in building Birmingham’s new central library. However, it is claimed that Sir Albert Bore and his Cabinet have started a process that could allow an undemocratic trust or a private profit making company to take over the running of the new library and other library services in the city.  Any profit for the company would be paid for by Birmingham council tax payers.

It is also claimed that by opening the LoB procurement to the market, the Council will provide an opportunity for private companies known as ‘public sector providers’ to tender to run the new library;  these are companies that specialise in running public services.  There is nothing local about these companies, many of them are globally based, and the first responsibility of such companies is to their shareholders, not to local people and communities.

In 1885 Joseph Chamberlain, addressing the Birmingham Artisans’ Association at Birmingham Town Hall, said: “The common rights of ownership have disappeared.  Some of them have been sold; some of them have been given away by people who had no right to dispose of them; some of them have been lost through apathy and ignorance; some have been stolen by fraud; and some have been acquired by violence.”

With those words in mind, the Friends Groups aims are to support the new library of Birmingham as a public, non-commercial cultural space, and which remains a publicly owned and publicly run service.

Launch of Friends Group
Thurs 4 July, 7.30pm
Lecture Room 2 at the Birmingham Conservatoire
Paradise Place, Fletchers Walk, Birmingham B3 3HG