It didn’t take long, but it looks like expectations for the new central city library project should be downgraded somewhat. Apparently, there isn’t enough money to rebuild the library with the same floor space, and to make it anything other than a tilt-slab barn. So we can either have a smaller, better-designed facility, or a larger, barn-like one – which would totally defeat the idea of having a library as the centre piece of the new city.

Or, we can listen to the ideas of our rich, neo-liberal councillors, who would introduce sponsorship into our public library system:

Cr Jamie Gough suggested staff should look at opportunities to subsidise the project by capitalising on its location. There were billions of dollars being invested in the central city and ample opportunity for commercial partnerships. “There is so much opportunity – it’s the finest address in town,” Gough said. Deputy mayor Ngaire Button agreed, saying she believed it was worthwhile looking for partners and other funding options.

I realise this is a library, rather than a school, but this reminds me of the apocalyptic vision of future schools in the Simpsons, in which children answering questions get partial credit for “Pepsi”. These quakes were a disaster, no one asked for them. John Key said no one in Christchurch would be worse off as a result of them, so why are our schools being closed, and our libraries being opened up to corporate sponsorship?

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