August 9th, 2006

Library Selling Naming Rights

By Kimball Perry
Cincinnati Enquirer

You can have the south tower of the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County named after you or your company - for $2 million.

That and other parts of the library can be named - for a price - as part of a new fund- raising campaign. Library officials hope to raise a $25 million endowment, which will then produce an annual income for the library as it faces tough finances.

“Frankly, it’s a way for people to leave a legacy, particularly if they want to remember a family member,” said Tom Noonan, retired president of Community Press newspapers and library foundation vice chairman.

The foundation was created in 2004, about the time the library was facing a $5 million budget deficit. In two years, it has raised $185,000.

Now, the library gets almost all of its $48.3 million budget from taxes. Last year, it laid off some employees and is facing unionization by employees as a result.

“It costs us nothing to offer, and the advertising (value) is almost beyond worth,” library executive director Kimber Fender said.

Library board vice president Charles Lindberg wants to make sure that the naming be done tastefully: , “I can see ‘The Larry Flynt Children’s Room.’ I wouldn’t be very happy with that.”

Here’s what it will cost to name parts of the public library:

$1 million - Children’s Learning Center.

$1 million - Rare Book Room.

$500,000 - Connector bridge.

$100,000 - Spiral staircase.

$75,000 - Main library meeting rooms.

$500 per year - Book shelves, section.

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