Information and discussion on all aspects of British photographic history
Two weeks ago BPH reported on the cuts being proposed by Birmingham City Council and their likely impact on the photography collections in the Library of Birmingham. It now seems that the impact on the photography collections which are of national and international importance and include historical collections and more recent photographers' archives are far greater than originally envisaged. In the words of Francis Hodgson '‘They’ are threatening to close down the whole of the photographic service at the Library of Birmingham, in the name of ‘cuts’.
Unfortunately this is not simply hyperbole - there is a very real threat to the photography collections and their availability to the public, students and scholars - as there is to the wider public services at the Library of Birmingham.
A briefing paper seen by BPH outlines the threat and is reproduced below. What the paper does not highlight is the threat to the staff in the photography collection led by Pete James. Any archive or collection relies on staff to make material available both physically and intellectually and there is uncertainty as whether any of the current staff will survive the cuts. Furthermore, the photography collection has been successful in recent years in securing for the nation the archives of a number of important photographers and organisations. The availability of these for study and exhibition will, inevitably, be affected. As Paul Hill has noted in a separate comment for some their acquisition has been made through public funds which have conditions attached around accessibility and been have they be taken on under false pretences?
BPH would urge readers to sign the petition below and feedback to the council on the importance of the Library and the photography collections. There are will be other moves to highlight the impact on the photography collections which will be reported here.
What future for the Photography Collections at the Library of Birmingham?
In 2015-16 the overall library budget will be cut by £1.5 million. By 2018 it is predicted that the budget will have been reduced by 4 million in total.
This will be a cut of 40%.
In 2015-16 the council is proposing to achieve £1.5 million savings by:
There will be worse to come with bigger cuts in following years.
What does this mean for you?
What can I do?
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