Libraries via public private partnerships?

Docklands is set to get a library, and the committee that gets to make some of the decisions regarding it is meeting today, according to Melbourne Leader. The article really grabbed my attention when it mentioned,

“Mr Adams [director of City Design] said a more expensive joint venture with a private partner – a public private partnership – would create a larger space and include a community centre.”

 

I suppose in Docklands they do not have pre-existing civic buildings, so perhaps the residents should be grateful that they are getting some community spaces as part of the development. However, why such a venture needs a private partner (when I imagine there would have been a developers contribution to the set up of such infrastructure) I am not so sure. I suppose in theory there is not anything wrong with raising more capital or having an integrated development through such a partnership, and I am sure books (and public access internet terminals) do not suddenly become less informative if the building is owned or partly operated as a private business. All the same, it would be nice to think of new developments as being able to include some genuinely public spaces that do not need to live up to any measure of commercial viability.

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