The majority of the Escondido City Council is seriously considering turning over the management of our only remaining Public Library to a private company, based in Rockville, Maryland, LS&S (Library Systems & Services). Council staff has already met with and discussed it with representatives of LS&S several times! A Guest Opinion by Escondido City Councilwoman Olga Diaz entitled “Keep the Escondido Public Library public,” in the July 13 issue of the Times-Advocate, describes the entire situation in great painful detail.
I wish to point out that the Council majority may be trying to do something that the rest of the world opposes. It should not privatize our Library.
The following statement comes from the rather lengthy IFLA (International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions) publication in 2001: “An important role of the public library is providing a focus for cultural and artistic development in the community and helping to shape and support the cultural identity of the community.” How could a private out-of-state corporation, with no ties to our city, and only interested in profits from our tax dollars, fill this important role? The simple answer is — it could not.
In 30 years, LS&S has managed to contract with only 83 libraries out of the 9,000+ libraries in the United States. There must be a reason for this miserable history. Consider these comments from an LS&S-linked community: Former Ashland, Oregon Mayor Cathy Shaw said in a local newspaper in 2016, “Thirty cents of every dollar goes to the profits of the corporation that wants to get as much out of the county and taxpayers as possible.” Budget committee member Edwin Budge said, “There are 9,000 communities that say they wouldn’t touch LS&S with a 10-foot pole.”
CECILIA M. GHANDHI, Escondido