Maryland company builds library empire / Cities privatize services to cut costs

Source: Ben Wolfgang, Washington Times, September 5, 2011

Cash-strapped cities and local governments across the country, having privatized services such as trash collection and prison operations in efforts to make up budget shortfalls, are increasingly eyeing another service as a prime candidate for outsourcing: the neighborhood library.

To save money, counties and cities in California, Kansas, Oregon, Tennessee and Texas have outsourced much of their operations to Library Systems & Services LLC….

Local leaders in Stockton, Calif., considered privatizing but ultimately decided against it, in part because of concerns raised by city residents, Ms. Raphael said.

Those misgivings may have been driven by controversies in Fargo, N.D., and Jersey City, N.J., along with other communities that signed contracts with LSSI only to terminate them early. In Fargo, the library board voted in 2003 to cancel the two-year deal after just eight months, citing concerns about mounting bills, according to the trade publication Library Journal.

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