Librarians in Vancouver are being warned to solicit only official Olympic sponsors for any Games-themed events they organize next month, and to cover up the names of any competitors - even slapping tape on offending logos on audiovisual equipment.
The memo, written by marketing and communications manager Jean Kavanagh, tells staff to avoid such companies as Pepsi or Dairy Queen - neither of which is an official sponsor, unlike, say Coca-Cola or McDonald's. And she suggests taking unusual steps to avoid displaying the logos of non-sponsors, writing: "If you have a speaker/guest who happens to work for Telus, ensure he/she is not wearing their Telus jacket, as Bell is the official sponsor."
She also writes that any rented sound equipment have its brand name covered by cloth or tape - if it's not a machine from sponsor Panasonic.
Ms. Kavanagh said in an interview that her list of Olympic dos and don'ts does not constitute censorship.
But Alex Youngberg, president of the library union, says the memo is contrary to the spirit of a public library. "There's something in my library to offend everybody," she said. "And that's our job. Our job as library staff is to not ever censor any information."
The library has a policy that says "sponsorship must not undermine the integrity of the non-commercial public space that the library provides." Ms. Kavanagh said she does not believe using exclusively Olympic brands at Vancouver library locations during the Games will breach that policy.
Ms. Kavanagh said neither the city nor VANOC asked her to send the memo; she simply wanted to make staff aware of Olympic branding guidelines.
"As we all know, the sponsors have paid a lot of money to sponsor these Games. The library is a department of the City of Vancouver and I didn't want any of our staff to be in potentially embarrassing situations," Ms. Kavanagh said.
VANOC spokesman Greg Alexis said the only time that VANOC would be concerned would be a case in which non-sponsor brands were used at an official Vancouver 2010 Winter Games event where the city's Olympic logo was used.
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