British Library staff raise awareness of funding woes with free “cutcakes”

British Library staff raise awareness of funding woes with free “cutcakes”

The public were tempted with free cupcakes  ̶  or “cutcakes” ̶  and other home baking as members of Prospect’s 300-strong branch at the British Library sought to raise awareness of the impact of funding cuts on staff and services.

Library staff received a warm response as they took to the streets around the landmark building in central London’s Euston Road to hand out leaflets and promote their message.

British Library branch chair Janet Ashton said: “We are seeing voluntary exits year after year [as a result of the cuts], which means lots of expertise and knowledge is being lost. But we are not just losing those close to retirement age; it is also younger staff members who just can’t see a career here.

“Those left behind have ever more work to do and this ultimately affects services. We have reached a critical mass.”

Along with other reps she distributed a leaflet highlighting the vital service the library performs, from sourcing quality research for documentaries to providing a valuable space, with free wi-fi, for study groups.

Health and safety rep Andy Robinson added that it was “hard to replace” lost knowledge and expertise overnight following repeated rounds of redundancy. He also said that cuts had a damaging effect on morale for those that remained.

“We were seen as an easy target, but these cuts need to stop,” he said. “There needs to be more investment in heritage for the long term. The sector must be valued.”

A study commissioned from Oxford Economics in 2013 found that the British Library delivers £5 in economic value for every £1 invested. The full report can be read here: