Monday, September 27, 2010

Anger as a Private Company Takes Over Libraries

This New York Times article hits on the notion of the personal relationship between public libraries and the communities they serve, and the bigger issue of how big businesses negatively impact employment and employees in pursuit of the bottom line. A company, Library Systems and Serices, created in 1981, is now managing the operations of over a dozen American library systems, with the promise of saving costs, largely at the expense of union employees. Even Frank Pezzanite, LSSI's chief executive agrees with the perception of libraries, saying
“There’s this American flag, apple pie thing about libraries. Somehow they have been put in the category of a sacred organization.”
Libraries run by LSSI cede control on such important local and subjective issues of hiring and even acquisitions, and, of course, LSSI operates on a for profit basis. Interesting that Santa Clarita Library Director Margaret Donnellan Todd says the perception is that there is no local connection, but
“People are receiving superb service in Santa Clarita. I challenge that L.S.S.I. will be able to do much better.”
Is that view not a reflection on the job that Ms. Todd was doing as director before LSSI took over?

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