Deal Or No De-UL?
Controversial plans to rename the prestigious Cambridge University Library after the highest bidding sponsor have attracted no bids.
Controversial plans to rename the prestigious Cambridge University Library after the highest bidding sponsor have attracted no bids since unveiled last November, it emerged yesterday.
Cambridge opened the bidding on the ‘ultimate commemorative naming opportunity’ last year, offering the opportunity to trade cash for a place in the institution’s title.
The auction has been criticised since the beginning, with worried Dons condemning the plans as liable to create a ‘Tesco Library,’ restricting research access in favour of commercialisation.
There has also been concern at the possibility of offers from other undesirable sources, notably including Bill Gates and British American Tobacco.
Luckily for the Dons, a spokesman for the University confirmed that not a single offer of sponsorship had yet been received.
However, concerns run throughout all levels of university management; Professor Gill Evans, a member of Cambridge’s Regent House governing body, was worried from the start that staff had not been consulted over the rebranding plans.
Evans said: ‘At this rate, one might set off for the University Library one morning to find it turned into a branch of Tesco with an internet café.’
Despite opposition from their own University and beyond, the UL has defended the plans, referring to Oxford’s Bodleian Library, Yale’s Beinecke and Manchester’s Rylands as examples of other successfully sponsored libraries.
Anne Jarvis, Cambridge University librarian, said any money raised would go towards maintaining high academic and research standards.
Jarvis said: ‘it is completely normal for an institution of this calibre to explore the full range of fundraising opportunities open to it.’
Professor Mary Beard, a Classics lecturer at Newnham, agreed, stating that the UL ‘is the most precious resource in the whole of East Anglia – it’s our equivalent of the Large Hadron Collider.’
She added, ‘libraries aren’t seen as terribly sexy, but we can change that. I’m sure it will get a sponsor sooner or later.’
So, if you fancy sexing up the UL, why not think about putting in a bid? Looks like they’ll soon be taking any offers they can get…