October 14, 2010; Source: The Santa Clarita Valley Signal | We’ve privatized so many forms of what used to be considered public services—including sanitation, prisons and jails, and collecting traffic tolls—what’s left, libraries? Too late, that’s already happening as some cities and counties are now letting their libraries be run by for-profit management companies in what is said to be a cost-saving move.
Still for some, like members of a newly formed nonprofit in Santa Clarita, Calif., the plan to let Library Systems & Services LLC run the city’s three libraries is not sitting well. Earlier this week Save Our Library sued to stop the takeover and also prevent the city from sharing private library-patron information with the would-be operators.
Since August, the city has been in discussion with Library Systems & Services to manage the city’s libraries, which are still part of the Los Angeles County system. If the deal goes forward, the for-profit firm would be paid $19 million over 5 years to manage Santa Clarita’s libraries.
Save Our Library isn’t the only opposition to the takeover plan. Library patrons and employees made a formal request last month that the city rescind its plans to contract with Library Systems & Services and hold three public hearings where the issue can be discussed and debated and put to a vote again.—Bruce Trachtenberg