1.13.2010

vancouver libraries ordered to become olympic corporate shills

Is there no end to this mass corporate takeover of our landscape?

Has a Vancouver city employee - the marketing manager of the Vancouver Public Library - been so hypnotized by corporate dollars that she fears the wrong logo making a casual appearance in the library?

As you read this, keep in mind that she says neither the City of Vancouver nor VANOC asked her to do this! She's volunteering to be a good corporate shill and warning her colleagues to do the same.
Librarians in Vancouver are being warned to solicit only official Olympic sponsors for any Games-themed events they organize next month, and to cover up the names of any competitors - even slapping tape on offending logos on audiovisual equipment.

The memo, written by marketing and communications manager Jean Kavanagh, tells staff to avoid such companies as Pepsi or Dairy Queen - neither of which is an official sponsor, unlike, say Coca-Cola or McDonald's. And she suggests taking unusual steps to avoid displaying the logos of non-sponsors, writing: "If you have a speaker/guest who happens to work for Telus, ensure he/she is not wearing their Telus jacket, as Bell is the official sponsor."

She also writes that any rented sound equipment have its brand name covered by cloth or tape - if it's not a machine from sponsor Panasonic.

Ms. Kavanagh said in an interview that her list of Olympic dos and don'ts does not constitute censorship.

But Alex Youngberg, president of the library union, says the memo is contrary to the spirit of a public library. "There's something in my library to offend everybody," she said. "And that's our job. Our job as library staff is to not ever censor any information."

The library has a policy that says "sponsorship must not undermine the integrity of the non-commercial public space that the library provides." Ms. Kavanagh said she does not believe using exclusively Olympic brands at Vancouver library locations during the Games will breach that policy.

Ms. Kavanagh said neither the city nor VANOC asked her to send the memo; she simply wanted to make staff aware of Olympic branding guidelines.

"As we all know, the sponsors have paid a lot of money to sponsor these Games. The library is a department of the City of Vancouver and I didn't want any of our staff to be in potentially embarrassing situations," Ms. Kavanagh said.

VANOC spokesman Greg Alexis said the only time that VANOC would be concerned would be a case in which non-sponsor brands were used at an official Vancouver 2010 Winter Games event where the city's Olympic logo was used.

Thanks to Christine for sending.

5 comments:

johngoldfine said...

I want to be an idealist about libraries, but when I see articles like this--and know that my own local library regularly de-accessions (is that the right jargon?) its collections, I get gloomy.

I don't want Google to own and control the world's wealth of books, and, on a much more trivial level, I don't want a librarian busily taping over corporate logos in a fit of self-abasing sycophancy.

impudent strumpet said...

Apart from people who already live in Vancouver full-time, would anyone affiliated with the Olympics even be in the local public library? Wouldn't they all be too busy competing in/organizing/watching the Olympics?

L-girl said...

I don't want a librarian busily taping over corporate logos in a fit of self-abasing sycophancy.

Ah, but it's not the librarians who are doing it! The librarians are in full revolt against it - they are refusing to comply.

If your library is de-accessioning, you might ask why, where those directives are coming from, what kind of funding they have.

Apart from people who already live in Vancouver full-time, would anyone affiliated with the Olympics even be in the local public library? Wouldn't they all be too busy competing in/organizing/watching the Olympics?

One would think.

James said...

I wonder if she'd refuse entry to clients who are carrying Pepsi products.

L-girl said...

I wonder if she'd refuse entry to clients who are carrying Pepsi products.

I'd love to see a customer try, then go public if harassed in any way. A taxpayer refused entry to a public institution because she was "displaying" the wrong corporate logo... oh boy.