Councillor Penny Holbrook, Cabinet Member for Skills, Learning & Culture said: “I completely understand the frustration and disappointment of the Friends of the Library of Birmingham, and the concerns that lie behind the rally planned for Saturday.
“As I have said previously, cuts to the Library of Birmingham were made with a heavy heart, and were taken as a result of continued pressure on the council to balance its budget in the face of severe reductions in central government funding and the competing demands of statutory services.
“I have met the Friends of the Library of Birmingham on a number of occasions, to discuss their position and try to identify ways in which we can work together to advocate for the increased resources which would need to be found in order to reinstate services from the Library, whether that is opening hours, or depth of services offered.
“Birmingham is facing unprecedented challenges for the future and if a rebalancing of the national funding picture is not forthcoming, we will start to see the reductions which are already worked into our financial plans having an impact on community libraries, arts, museums and many other areas which contribute to the city’s quality of life and economic growth.
“Birmingham City Council continues to work to identify new sources of support for the Library, through partnerships and commercial opportunities. At the same time, I appreciate the Friends continuing to keep the current position in the public eye, and to engage the wider Birmingham population in protecting the services which they feel so passionately about. I hope that by working together we can influence supporters of the Library in the public, private and voluntary sectors to increase their contributions so that its success can continue.”