Saturday, 28 May 2011

Lessons for us all from Rhode Island?

The dangers of divestment are here for all of us to see! And I wonder if a private library company is waiting in the wings to take over and re-employ the staff on new contracts?

Friday, 27 May 2011

Privatisation plans for Wokingham Borough libraries approved

"PLANS to privatise libraries across the Wokingham borough were given the go ahead yesterday (Thursday).
Councillors voted unanimously in favour of the plans at the meeting. If a suitable company is found, services will not be outsourced until May next year."

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Wokingham plan to privatise libraries

"Richard Alexander, libraries and information manager, said: "We continually see news concerning library closures in the press and on TV, but it is a different story altogether here in Wokingham.
"We are pleased the council's decision-making executive will consider these proposals next week which would, we believe, help secure the continued future of the community's library service, and enable us to undertake improvements we would otherwise struggle to achieve."

A very strange and worrying statement for a library professional to make! Is this why he went into the profession to oversee the privatisation of his library service?
I was contacted by a reporter from the Reading Chronicle asking if they could use my online comments in an article to be published this week, so there is obviously a lot of interest in the subject?

Saturday, 14 May 2011

LSSI, Santa Clarita and the AB438 Bill

“Much of the alarm comes from misinformation fomented by our critics,” Pezzanite said, adding: “All library policies, including those about fines and fees, are created by the communities we serve. LSSI does not set policies or own any library assets. . . . It is difficult to sit on the sidelines while our company is being attacked and not be able to respond to false and misleading information.”

The claim that "false and misleading information" is being used against them is ironic from a company that has hired lobbyists to spin its case against the AB438 Bill that if passed will require a county to hold a public vote before deciding to outsource or privatise their library system!

for background see;

Cartoon - Public Library v Private Library

Friday, 6 May 2011

The 'Plural Funding' debate!

LSSI for some years have been at the forefront of the argument to introduce 'plural funding', that is more private capital, into the public library system.
Their website outlines their thinking very clearly;
"The fundamental question is whether public libraries can follow the lead of museums, zoos, public broadcasters, performing arts organizations and others that view government as a funding partner, not as a sole source. In the Plural Funding Project, LSSI and a number of forward-thinking librarians, library-directors, and directors of library consortia have joined together to try to find the answer to this question - and to develop the tools and strategies libraries will need to pursue more diversified funding models."
The main instigator is Steve Coffman, Vice President East Coast, he is also responsible for developing 'virtual reference' models which LSSI, and others, use to cut their reference and information budgets!
For opposing views see and

Blow to LSSI in California

The City of Stockton and San Joaquin County have agreed to keep their library service in public hands thwarting the plans put forward by LSSI.