Tuesday, 27 August 2013

News from across the pond!

I'll admit it i've taken my eye of the ball recently when it comes to library privatisation in the US, I mean there's been so much going on in the UK what with Wandsworth, Croydon, Harrow and Ealing!
So here's a digest of stories from the US from the last few months;

'Sumter votes to outsource libraries' (June 26, 2013)
"Despite almost two hours of residents coming to the podium one-by-one to announce their opposition to outsourcing the county’s library system to a private company, Sumter County commissioners voted 4-1 Tuesday to move ahead with the effort.
County leaders said handing the system over to Library Systems and Services of Germantown, Md. would lead to improvements such as adding ebooks readers and downloadable music, books through the mail, improved services for the deaf and blind and longer hours.
At least one resident told commissioners Tuesday she gathered more than 2,000 signatures on a petition to keep the library in the county’s hands. Commissioner Don Hahnfeldt said at the workshop last week that 87 percent of his emails were against the measure."

'Company doesn't want to manage Gladstone library' (June 13, 2013)
"Gladstone will not consider turning over management of the city library to a private company -- an issue that has polarized residents for months.
Library Systems and Services, which advertises its services as a way for municipalities to make their libraries more efficient, earlier this month declined to submit a bid to operate the library. A company representative said the potential savings and improvements were minimal and wouldn't justify their services."
See also - http://saveourlibrarygladstone.wordpress.com/

'Tennessee: LSSI Fires Germantown Librarian Without Notice to Suburb'
"Library Systems and Services dismissed Shannon Rooney on July 15 without advising the suburb. The action prompted a proposed amendment in the contract between the city and LSSI asking for advance notification of such decisions."

'Illinois Black Suburb Can't Even Afford a Library as America Is Privatized and Foreclosed'
"If knowledge from books is power, then the predominantly white status quo doesn't have to worry about young people in Ford Heights, Illinois, empowering themselves at the library anytime soon.
That is because there is no library and no books to be checked out in one of the poorest suburbs (about 95% African American of what's left of a village that once had 5000 residents) in the nation."

'Queens Public Library Joins the Ranks of Low-Wage Employers'
"Back in the mid-1990s, Queens Public Library hired a private security guard company, supposedly to supplement its own unionized guards.
Fast forward to 2010. That’s when the library laid off two security guards, leaving only one on its payroll. About a dozen lower-paid non-union contract security guards now monitor the Central library and the biggest branch, Flushing. The 62 other branches are left to fend for themselves.
In April, the library’s trustees approved a contract with a private company for custodian services.Today, the administration is once more singing the same old song. It assured the union that it doesn’t plan to lay off any of its own approximately 75 custodian workers. Management says it only needs extra help at the Central Library.
But the union and its members are concerned that what’s afoot is creeping contracting out, a long-term plan to get rid of unionized employees. Already, the library has assigned contract custodians to work at a branch under renovation in addition to those working at the Central Library."
For more on this story see; http://www.local1321.org/index.cfm?action=article&articleID=4a2936e2-131e-48ab-b73b-62a89601361d

DC Library Renaissance Project - 'Absurd' - Posted on by
"In response to articles about the release of an RFQ for architects to renovate MLK, assertions have been made that we oppose renovations to libraries. Honestly? No one has done more to advocate for libraries in DC than the DC Library Renaissance Project and the District Dynamos. And we have succeeded."


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