Privatization of county library is not an option, official says

Source: John Chadwell, Benito Link, August 26, 2016

LSSI was the sole respondent to a request for proposal (RFP) the county issued on behalf of itself, Hollister, San Juan Bautista and the County of San Benito Joint Intergovernmental Committee.  The request asked for assistance to provide a needs assessment, which would result in the creation of a comprehensive understanding of operational and building needs for the library and eventually a Technology, Education, and Library (TEL) Center. The goal of the needs assessment, according to the office of Ray Espinosa, county administrative officer, is develop a comprehensive analysis of the unmet facility and operational needs in the existing library. … Officials with the county as well as the city of Hollister agree that the existing library facility and service levels are inadequate to accommodate both the present and future needs of the county population. … Bob Windrow, vice president of business development for LSSI, then went through a lengthy presentation, first about the company’s 35 years of working with community libraries, the Library of Congress, and the Smithsonian Institution. Then he spoke of the county library’s needs assessment goals, the company’s approach in determining them, and the delivery of a plan on how to achieve those goals. … Mark Weirick, SEIU 521 union organizer, warned against the county working with LSSI, which he claimed had a reputation of taking over and privatizing libraries at the expense of communities and library employees. … Weirick further claimed that in the libraries that LSSI runs, there is an incentive to keep costs down and profits up by lowering salaries and benefits of employees, relying more on volunteers, reducing programs, and services. …