Dear Editor, The “project director” of the new library may not have a problem with a company buying the naming rights of the new library, but maybe the people who are paying his wages/fees might.
It seems to me outrageous that some company which has had nothing to do with the tradition of public libraries in Birmingham or the design and building of “our” new library should be able to stick their name and logo on the face of it for a mere £10 million (Mr Gambles’s estimate of the value of the naming right). Those of us who have paid or will pay nearly £190 million for it should have some rights as well.
The new library will, I hope, incorporate all the wonderful resources of the existing Central Library within its structure, to the benefit of the people of Birmingham and scholars from across the country and even abroad.
With the Shakespeare Library, the Boulton & Watt Collection, probably the best science library outside of academia and an archive department of unparalleled usefulness, this is a resource of which the people of the city can be proud.
We do not want – and should not have foist upon us – a McLibrary, but have a People’s Library of Birmingham in 2013.
There are Carnegie libraries around the world, but they were built through the philanthropy of a great Scot, Andrew Carnegie, who used his industrial fortune to benefit other people by paying for the building of libraries, schools and universities, youth clubs (does anybody else remember the Carnegie Club in Moseley which I used to go to?) and other institutions. Similarly, the Cadbury family, the Calthorpes and various other capitalists-with-a-conscience funded many of the establishments which we cherish now. It seems, though, that Mr Gambles wants to sell advertising space on the new building for a mess of pottage. Shame on him.
Cannon Hill, Birmingham