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Hawaii government to rent out library land

In the US, the Hawaii state government has put forth a bill to lease library land and facilities to private companies as a way of generating revenue, reports the Hawaii Tribune Herald.

Under the proposed bill, a pilot program would be run at three libraries, which grants leases of up to 55 years to companies selected by the Board of Education. Money from the leases would be deposited in a fund to be used for library programs. The proposed bill, due for one more reading, has already unanimously passed three Senate committees, two House committees and the full Senate.

In general, the Hawaii State Public Library System (HSPLS) ‘supports the intent to identify revenue generating programs to meet the mission of the public library system,’ said state librarian Stacey Aldrich. ‘The HSPLS notes, however, that it currently does not hold title to the lands under which the public libraries sit, nor that it has the expertise necessary to guide the HSPLS through a pilot program which involves the redevelopment, and leasing and management of library lands.’

‘This bill is another example of gentrification and commercialisation of public lands,’ said Diane Marshall of the Feed the Street organisation that has previously fed homeless people on the grounds of the Hawaii State Library in Honolulu.

State Senator Russell Ruderman said he didn’t like the idea that the libraries aren’t being funded sufficiently by the state and have to resort to leasing facilities. But he said there are safeguards in place to protect the public. ‘There’s absolutely no intention to charge the public for library use,’ said Ruderman. ‘It’s a way of raising funds for library programs.’


Category: Library news International