What is Trešais tēva dēls?

We have chosen this symbol, known from folk tales and literature, as the name for the municipal public library development project co-financed by the Latvian government and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The project will enable Latvia’s 874 public libraries to become more modern and be augmented with contemporary information technology solutions, but the main thrust of Trešais tēva dēls is to make sure those who will benefit most – various groups within Latvian society – find out about the project.

Trešais tēva dēls is a new brand, specially created for libraries. Initially its role will be to draw attention to libraries and the changes taking place within them, but later it will be used to represent the availability of the internet and other new resources, both technological and content, at libraries. Everywhere you see the special 3td sign, you can enter and access wireless internet with your own or the library’s computer, as well as all the other options offered by the library. Trešais tēva dēls wants to see libraries as centres for gaining access to information, knowledge and innovation, attracting many visitors seeking answers and solutions so they can realise their own ideas.

In the legend about the third son, the older brothers always look upon their young sibling as a ‘fool’ as he has no interest in worldly goods. Nevertheless, when Latvians see the words, common to many tales ‘once upon a time, a father had three sons’, they already know that the real fools are the elder brothers, the third brother is actually the smart one who will save the others and come out on top. Trešais tēva dēls symbolises intelligence and wisdom. He is a doer rather than an orator. Fully resolved to save the princess, regardless of how others question his abilities. While the older brothers deliberate and argue, the youngest makes no boasts but acts and surprises everyone.

In its essence, the tale of the third brother is a success story about a person who overcomes all barriers, including his own self-doubt, becomes a hero and accomplishes his goals. In terms of the project, it is also tells the story of the library itself. The Trešais tēva dēls legend is at the same time very Latvian and international, it crops up in the folklore of many nations, hence it is understood equally by both Latvians and others. Heroic characters in the mould of the third brother also crop up in contemporary popular culture, good examples being Shrek, a swamp ogre hated by all but who turns out to be wise and strong, Neo, the unlikely hero of the Matrix trilogy, Spider-Man and many others.

The project’s name, Trešais tēva dēls is welcoming and friendly, referring to as it does to an ordinary person rather than a superhuman: a person who uses his wisdom to rise above the ordinary. This name and concept fully support the mission defined by project backer, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation: every life, regardless of where it is lived, has equal value.

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