Last month at AALL’s Annual Conference in Austin, TX, HBR Consulting Managing Director Donna Terjesen and I participated in a panel discussion, Outsourcing Library Services, moderated by Cornell Winston, Law Librarian and Records Center Supervisor for the U.S. Attorney’s Office. We were expected to discuss our perspectives on outsourcing library services and were prepared to answer some tough questions from an audience of law librarians. My fellow panelists and I are grateful to AALL for providing a session to have a candid discussion about a topic that has often been the cause of much anxiety. I would like to share some of the thoughts expressed in our library outsourcing session, and also include opinions/comments that are often we hear. …
The Niles Township High School Dist. 219 Board of Education on Aug. 15 approved a new contract for the Niles Township Federation of Teachers and Support Staff, who earlier the same day voted to accept the July 1, 2017-effective agreement. … Under the new agreement, 37 staff support positions currently performed by outsourced contract workers will become direct district employee positions. The contract also covers 369.5 full-time teachers and 205 support staff.
Maintenance, clerical and librarian jobs that were contracted would become district union employee positions. Cafeteria, janitorial, security and transportation workers would remain contracted. District and union officials said district employees would have preference in hiring to fill those positions.
… The shift from contracted workers to direct district employees is significant. According to union President Ann Goethals, former Supt. Nanciann Gatta was on record as wanting to have only teachers and paraprofessionals working as classroom teacher aids to be in union bargaining units. Before her departure in 2015, Gatta told the Journal she was trying to outsource non-core educational positions in the district. Supt. Steven Isoye said the having the majority of workers in the school as direct employees generates better productivity. Union members complained bitterly at a school board meeting last year about contracting and outsourcing positions. …
The Escondido City Council voted Wednesday night to privatize the city library, ignoring pleas from hundreds of residents who turned out to oppose the move.
The City Council chamber was packed for the meeting, with the vast majority of attendees clearly concerned about the plan to turn the city’s library over to Library Systems and Services, a Maryland-based management company. … The management company has said that current library employees will be offered jobs. … In the end, council members were swayed by the city manager’s economic arguments and voted to approve the management contract, becoming the first community in San Diego County to privatize their public library.
Opposition to Escondido library outsourcing grows
Source: J. Harry Jones, San Diego Union Tribune, August 9, 2017
Narly 200 angry residents were thrilled Tuesday afternoon when the Escondido Library Board of Trustees unanimously decided to recommend that the City Council not outsource the city’s library services to a private company. … Probably late this month during a meeting scheduled for Aug. 23, the council will decide whether to contract with Library Systems & Services (LS&S), a Maryland-based company that operates more than 80 public libraries around the United States. During the meeting, City Manger Jeff Epp sat quietly in the back of the library’s Turrentine room, which was packed with passionate opponents of the plan. Afterward, he said it has not yet been decided whether the city’s staff will suggest the council move forward with the outsourcing plan. … LS&S, the only private company in the country that offers such services, would replace roughly three dozen city library employees, although some of the longest-serving workers would be eligible for other city jobs. The rest would be given the option of working for the company, but without the many benefits that come with working for the city such as an attractive pension plan. …
After years of subsidizing the Cody library’s cafe with thousands of taxpayer dollars, Park County leaders say it may be time to turn the Biblio Bistro over to a private business. …Over the coming year, the Bistro is projected to lose more than $49,500 — about the same amount it’s lost in the last several years. The consensus reached among the commissioners and library leaders on Tuesday was that the county and library system can no longer afford to subsidize the cafe to that degree. County officials decided to start drafting a request for proposals (RFP), in which private businesses would be invited to submit proposals on how they might use the Biblio Bistro’s space in the Cody library and how much they’d be willing to pay in rent. … Library officials and commissioners will discuss the RFP again at another work session.
Source: WLOX, February 13, 2017
Tensions were high at a board meeting in Hancock County Monday night regarding the library system. Community members packed the room, many of them expressing outrage about the possibility of the county privatizing the Hancock County Library system. The system houses five libraries and 26 full time employees. Some believe the privatization would allow an outside company to take over the system, hire their own employees, and depend more on technology than librarians. Many residents at the board meeting said the library system is just fine and that the privatization would have a negative impact. … The Hancock County Board of Supervisors said they’re only exploring their options with the privatization and will discuss the matter again during the next meeting.
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. …
Source: Bakersfield Now, June 8, 2016
Kern County libraries will face a much smaller budget, now that Measure F was defeated in the June 7 election. County officials say it’s not clear if hours or service will be cut, and they will keep working with community groups as an alternate way to get extra support for the libraries. … He said that means next year’s budget for libraries will be about $7 million. Will that be enough? … Passage of Measure F would have changed that. The proposal was for a one-eighth cent sales tax for libraries. Wiebe said it’s estimated that would have brought in about $15 million a year. … Measure F actually got more “yes” votes than “no,” but not enough to win approval. According to the latest Kern County Election Department data, there were 43,710 voters approving the measure, and 42,517 voting “no.” But that means approval by 50.69 percent, and a tax measure requires passage by 66.6 percent. …
Tax would raise $15 million a year for libraries
Source: James Burger and Theo Douglas, Bakersfield.com, April 30, 2016
Advocates for Library Enhancement — formed to oppose privatization of Kern County’s 25 library branches — is now spearheading the political campaign to pass Measure F, a one-eighth cent sales tax on the June 7 ballot. It’s estimated Measure F would increase Kern County’s roughly $7 million library budget by $15 million a year for 16 years, flooding resources into the system that serves 840,000 people across 8,000 square miles. Following years of system budget cuts, many rural branches are now open only three or four days a week. The Wasco branch, for example, is only open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Kern County Library Director Nancy Kerr — who can’t advocate for the tax but can discuss its implications — said if Measure F passes, all branches would be open at least five days a week. …
FIRST LOOK: Kern County Library Tax may provide dedicated funding stream
Source: Charmaine Cleveland, Bakersfield Californian, April 5, 2016
Kern County Library Assistant Director Andrea Apple said on Tuesday that Kern County is just one of two places in the state that still depends on a general fund for its library. But a new ballot measure may change that. During a 30-minute interview on “First Look with Scott Cox,” Apple talked about the June 7th ballot measure, called Measure F, which aims to support the Kern County Library System by implementing a one-eighth-cent sales tax to help fund the location. … According to the assistant director, the measure will only affect taxable goods, leaving out many necessity payments like utility bills and prescriptions. During the interview, Apple also addressed the notion of library privatization, adding that the Kern County Library’s director, who came from a similar, private industry, found little to cut from the location’s budget.
Groups get names removed from Measure F opposition statement
Source: James Burger, Bakersfield Californian, March 31, 2016
Four business-friendly groups whose names were included in a statement opposing Measure F, the Kern County library sales tax measure, have had their names pulled from the document. Kern Citizens for Sustainable Government, the Kern County Taxpayers’ Association, the Kern Home Builders Association and the Greater Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce filed a joint lawsuit in Kern County Superior Court March 22 seeking to have their names taken off the statement voters will see in their voter information packet. … Providence principal Tracy Leach, who has contracted with private library management company LSSI, filed the opposition argument and included the four groups’ names in a list of organizations that oppose the proposed one-eighth cent library tax that voters will consider on the June 7 ballot. Representatives for the groups, which had called for Kern County to explore privatization of library management through a contract with LSSI, quickly demanded that the Kern County Elections Division pull their names off the letter because they hadn’t formally taken a position on Measure F.
Source: Clayton Huckaby, Kern Valley Sun, March 16, 2016
On Tuesday, March 8 the Kern County Board of Supervisors voted to put the proposed library sales tax on the June ballot. The Board of Supervisors approved a measure on March 8 that, if voter approved, would increase sales tax by 0.125 percent and would garner as much as $15 million per year for the Kern County Libraries. The proposed sales tax comes as an alternative to the Board of Supervisors proposed plan to partner with Library Systems & Service Incorporated (LSSI). … If the measure is approved, according to the Advocates for Library Enhancement, the wording of the measure will allow the money to be spent solely on maintaining and improving Kern County Libraries. Although this money may be used only for the libraries, the current general fund funding for the library may be reallocated by the Board of Supervisors to other areas of the budget. The measure could potentially free up general fund money for the Kern County Fire Department, the Kern County Sheriff’s Office, or other areas within the county’s budget.
Kern County supervisors approve putting library tax on ballot
Source: Bakersfield Now, March 8, 2016
Kern County supervisors decided Tuesday to put a library tax before voters. The eighth-cent tax on all retail sales within Kern County would bring $15 million to Kern County’s 24 libraries, about double their current budget, according to Advocates for Liberty Enhancement.
Supervisors leery of library tax, but to decide in March
Source: James Burger, Bakersfield Californian, February 2, 2016
Kern County supervisors will on March 1 consider placing a tax measure on the June ballot to support the Kern County library system. But most made it clear Tuesday they’re leery of offering up that tax. So they also voted to issue a request for information that could result in privatization of the library system. … Supervisor Leticia Perez said the county is obliged to give the tax measure serious consideration given that it and the public have spent most of a year digging into how to best support libraries. … And Kern County Administrative Officer John Nilon, tasked nine months ago with taking the public’s pulse on the privatization of library management, told supervisors that the overwhelming message from polls, surveys and community meetings was that Kern residents support libraries, oppose privatization and support a sales tax to improve branches. Nilon said an analysis shows Kern County has one of the most poorly funded county library systems in the state — spending $8 per capita, less than one third the state average of $25. … Most speakers from Lake Isabella, Mojave, Ridgecrest and Bakersfield spoke passionately for the tax measure and a publically managed library system. They said libraries will never get the support they need to run well when they have to compete with the Sheriff’s Office, Fire Department and other critical county departments. They urged supervisors to put the tax on the ballot and let the people decide how to fund their libraries.
Love Brooklyn Libraries, Inc., headed by Brooklyn resident Marsha Rimler, had challenged the project’s environmental review, but the court dismissed the claims on July 7, saying they lacked merit. The court also ruled that the lawsuit was not served within the required deadline, and that any extension of the deadline for service would be unwarranted. … Love Brooklyn Libraries, Inc. had claimed that the city’s environmental review did not take into account several adverse environmental risks, including increased traffic, air pollution and noise, and long shadows cast in nearby parks. The city, however, provided a detailed explanation of how its environmental analysis was carried out, demonstrating it was in technical compliance with applicable laws. For example, the analysis found that construction vehicles would not add more than 50 “vehicle-trips” at any intersection during peak hours. Because of this, further analysis was not warranted, according to guidance under the CEQR Technical Manual, the city’s environmental “bible.” … The library site is being sold to developer Hudson Companies for $52 million. Hudson plans to build a 36-story luxury tower, with a new, smaller Brooklyn Heights branch on the ground floor and below ground. As part of the deal, 114 units of affordable housing will be built in Clinton Hill.
Brooklyn Public Library To Sell Branch to Real Estate Developer
Source: Ian Chant, Library Journal, August 13, 2015
…If plans continue apace, the system will sell its Brooklyn Heights location to real estate developer Hudson Companies for upwards of $50 million. A 36 story residential tower of condos will be built on the site of the branch, in one of the borough’s toniest neighborhoods, and the ground floor will host a new library. … A design for the new library hasn’t been settled on yet, but one thing is for sure—at just over 21,000 square feet, the new branch will be significantly smaller than the current one, which is over 60,000 square feet. … The Brooklyn Heights Branch also houses BPL’s Business and Career Library, which won’t be true following the renovations. Once the current branch shutters its doors, the resources provided by the Business and Career Library will be moved three miles southwest to the Library’s Central Branch.
Community Board Approves Redevelopment Plan for Brooklyn Public Library Branch
Source: Ileana Najarro, New York Times, July 16, 2015
A controversial proposed redevelopment plan for the Brooklyn Public Library’s Brooklyn Heights branch, which includes the construction of affordable housing, received a community board’s approval, with provisions, at a heated meeting on Wednesday evening. The board, which met at St. Francis College, voted 25 to 14 in favor, with four members abstaining. … As part of the proposal, Hudson will also build 114 affordable-housing units in Clinton Hill, Ms. Johnson said. In exchange, the developer would build market-rate condominiums on top of the new library building. … The community board voted to approve the recommendation of the plan with three provisions: that once construction is completed and the new library is fully outfitted, at least $2 million be set aside as a fund to help maintain the library; that the new library have the same amount of usable space as the current one; and that there be a memorandum noting that a community benefits plan that is needed be made.
Saving Schools and Libraries by Giving Up the Land They Sit On
Source: Joseph Berger and Al Baker, New York Times, March 17, 2013
The Brooklyn Heights library is neither the oldest nor the most dilapidated branch of the Brooklyn Public Library system. But the 52-year-old limestone building is nonetheless ripe for demolition. It sits on land that developers crave, in a fashionable neighborhood where housing is in high demand. And so the library system, desperate for money to pay for $230 million in long-deferred repairs for its 60 branches, has embraced a novel financing model that is increasingly being used around New York City as a way to pay for government services. The library, on Cadman Plaza, along with another library near the Barclays Center, would be sold to developers, torn down and then rebuilt at no public expense on the ground floor of a new apartment tower. …
…But the approach has provoked growing protest in the affected communities. Most pressingly, residents are concerned about how far they will have to go to reach a library, and where their children will go to school, during the years it will take to erect the new towers. But they are also worried about the aesthetic and cultural price of replacing local institutions to which they are deeply attached, neighborhood landmarks if not official ones, and having them swallowed up into stacks of concrete, steel and glass. …
…Meanwhile, the New York City Housing Authority, facing the biggest deficits in its history, has proposed letting developers build private, mostly market-rate residential towers on parking lots alongside eight housing projects in Manhattan. The authority would use the resulting lease payments — as much as $60 million a year — to pay for badly needed repairs in the 179,000 apartments it manages….
Source: PR Newswire, July 7, 2016
Library Systems and Services (LS&S) has signed an agreement to continue providing support to Redding and Shasta County, California libraries until 2021. The company has worked with Shasta Public Libraries since 2007, providing strategic, technical, and operational support. The public-private partnership with LS&S has given Shasta Public Libraries solid footing following a history of closed branches and low ratings for per capita funding. …
Control of libraries to shift / Supervisors vote to pass services to city of Redding
Source: By Tim Hearden, Record Searchlight (CA), August 23, 2006
Shasta County supervisors voted 4-1 Tuesday to hand off library services to the city of Redding.
……..The city would notify the county by Oct. 31 whether it will run the system or contract with a private firm. Redding has been negotiating with Maryland-based Library Systems and Services (LSSI), and a final agreement could go before the City Council within the next month.
The Library of Congress, fighting its way out of an IT environment hamstrung by legacy technology, plans to spend up to $40 million on contractor support to help govern and manage its computer modernization development and investments. The legislative branch agency published a solicitation requesting proposals from IT vendors that can support the Library’s newly formed Office of the Chief Information Officer “in accomplishing initiatives in the areas of management and governance processes, including mission and IT strategic planning, effective and efficient use of technology investments within the context of business and IT investment portfolios, service management, and improved support to the Library’s various service units for both business and IT project and program management.” … The Library’s decision to move to independent contractors to support these IT functions comes after a series of critical audits in 2015 from its inspector general and the Government Accountability Office, which in part called for the agency to outsource a commercial firm to review its IT projects and help better manage them. …