Monday, February 27, 2012

Opening hours of Kings Heath Library to be increased

Subject to approval of a report I am presenting to Cabinet next Monday, the opening hours of Kings Heath Library will be increasing from 39hours per week, to 40hours per week, in April.

The report I am presenting is the new operating model for all community libraries across Birmingham. The headlines from the report are as follows:

  • No libraries in Birmingham will close
  • The 16 busiest libraries (which includes Kings Heath, Sparkhill and Hall Green Library) will each open a minimum of 40 hours per week, spread over 5 days. These libraries presently open 5 days a week, with the hours varying widely.
  • The remaining 23 community libraries (which includes Balsall Heath) will each open a minimum of 26 hours per week spread over 4 days. These libraries are presently open 5 days a week with their hours varying widely

The Constituencies that look after the day-to-day operation of these community libraries will set the opening and closing times, but they will be expected to be open on Saturdays and at least one late night per week.

In addition to this, I have managed to get the money to completely repair the roof of Kings Heath Library. This will be in two phases:

Phase 1: due to start late March – cost £156,000 – replacement of the asphalt covering on the flat roof with new asphalt; replacement of the slate tiles on the pitch roofs; provision of a new aluminium rainwater guttering system. This roof covering reached the end of its design life more than 20 years ago and it is cracking in places, allowing water to penetrate the concrete flat roof. This in turn is causing large chunks of ceiling plaster to fall off the ceiling inside onto libray users below. Also, whenever it rains, buckets have to be place around the library to catch any dripping water.

Phase 2: due to start Summer 2012 – cost £144,000 – replacement of all the skylights. These wooden frame skylights are in danger of collapsing onto the library users below. Permanent scaffolding was installed in January 2011 to give protection to the users below. The new skylights will be exact replicas of the Edwardian skylights. Once these are installed, the permanent scaffolding will be removed.


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