Councillor Jack Scott, cabinet member for community services and libraries, said last week that he understood the ‘affection and genuine care’ that the people had for the ‘iconic’ Sheffield Central library building. I wonder if he really does? More importantly, does he care?
That’s because three years ago Sheffield Council rented out the side of the Central Library as advertising space. A huge advert for five percent fat chips covered the side of the building. I wrote to him in his capacity as cabinet member for environment, recycling and streetscene, to protest in the strongest terms.
The Central Library is in the cultural heart of the city with the Millennium Gallery, The Lyceum, and Crucible. It is an area that attracts many visitors because it is the biggest regional theatre complex outside of London.
We did not need an advert the size of a building for chips at one of the prime locations in the city centre. I was told that Sheffield Council needed to generate income. I lobbied Daniel Evans, the artistic director of the Sheffield Theatres, at the time. The advertising hoarding was eventually removed and since then the building has been advert free.
In my view, the chip advertising hoarding spoke volumes in terms of how Sheffield Council views the Central Library. Coun Scott is going to have to work very hard to convince us that he does care and that he is capable of dealing with the many challenges that face the Central Library in a thoughtful way.
Love Wincobank Campaign