Thank you, David for your honest and unbiased reporting on the Library outsourcing issue. It certainly is in stark contrast to the one-sided and often inaccurate information the city has provided on this matter. You mention that the Cynthia Smith report on LSS is not on the city website as are many reports and opinions that oppose the outsourcing.
On the other hand, any positive information that the city has found, usually only from LSS employees or officials from other cities who have already sold out to LSS, are included on the website and quoted without question. Note that it has been outsourcing opponents who have had to find the reports and data critical of LSS. Yes indeed, this is evidence of very poor research by the city on this issue. Either they couldn’t find it or more likely they didn’t even look for it. Maybe they should consult with some professional librarians at the Library to help with their research before we’re all gone.
And how about when the city wanted to brag about all the libraries LSS managed. Jackson County as 26 separate library branches. But when the critical report of LSS by Jackson County officials was uncovered by outsourcing opponents, it was dismissed as just the opinion of one library. How’s that for twisting information to suit the city’s own perspective.
Frankly the city’s attempt to control information and criticism on this issue has been very disgraceful. The stifling of opposition information and speaking out was part of Cynthia Smith’s downfall. Even after the council voted in favour of outsourcing in August, she continued to criticize the plan and would not follow the official city line. For that she was put on administrative leave a month before she had planned to retire. Have you ever heard of a librarian being put on administrative leave? That was the city’s crude way to silence her official voice, but her excellent past written work speaks volumes about how bad outsourcing to LSS would be for the Library and the citizens of Escondido.
One of the things that librarians pride themselves on, and Cynthia was no exception, is providing the public with objective, detailed, high quality and accurate information. Even the city cited her work on joining the county library system because it agreed with their opinion. But they disagreed with her on LSS so that information never found its way to the city website.
All this selective use and biased manipulation of information provided by the city on this outsourcing “sell out” is another reason why it is so difficult to swallow for professional librarians, as well as the public. But as we’ve seen with new critical reports and stories each week, truth will win out in the end.
JOHN DONEL, MLS, Escondido
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