BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Major controversy surrounds the announcement by the Birmingham Public Library Board of Trustees to furlough 158 library full and part-time employees starting this Friday.
In a protest held Tuesday morning, dozens of people came out to voice their concerns during the city council meeting.
Roughly 75% of the Birmingham Public Library workers will be affected by this change that will only allow the Central Library in downtown Birmingham to reopen on October 1. The other 18 libraries’ fate is yet to be determined.
Several community organizations including Alabama Rally Against Injustice and People’s Budget Birmingham were there alongside library employees, vocalizing what they call a major disservice cutting these primary services. The library will now be operating under half the budget that was previously proposed.
Leaders are calling for the city to reassess some of it’s spending to allocate more funding to the library.
“When you have an education system in the shape that it’s in. We are part of the education in Birmingham and to defund the libraries is detrimental,” Birmingham Library employee Tiffany West said.
Activists and library employees have launched an online petition that can be found here.
Despite the furloughs, curbside and online library services will remain operational.
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