04/05/2012 : ONLINE POKER COMPANY SPONSORS ISLAND LIBRARY
Pokerstars heads off Isle of Man library closure with sponsorship
The Isle of Man-based online poker provider Pokerstars saved the day for the islands closure-threatened Family and Mobile Libraries this month, coming forward with a commitment to keep the library viable – and the jobs of its employees safe – for at least another three years.
Government austerity cutbacks due to the tough economic situation had earlier threatened the continued existence of the non-profit library, which delivers books to remote island communities, the local newspaper IOM Today reported.
Working through the Manx Educational Foundation (MEF), a not-for-profit organisation set up last year to encourage public-private partnerships in the field of education, Pokerstars committed to fund the libraries for three years to safeguard all employees and maintain the current level of service and fee structure. It will not provide any sort of branding or presence in the libraries.
MEF executive director David Butterworth said: "Obviously these are austere times and the need to balance the public finances is a serious one. However, it would be a significant blow to the education of our youth to lose the libraries, as literacy is an essential skill in any industry. As such, we are pleased that PokerStars has stepped up and committed to save these services."
The cost of the support for the libraries is being finalised but the department has previously estimated this at around GBP 230,000.
The government's announcement in February this year that it was to close the library met with demonstrations and petitions from local residents, and a Council of Ministers working party was set up to see if the services could continue.