The Atlantic Cities – “I’ll admit, to me, the idea of a privatized public library has a certain dystopian ring to it, the ultimate public space corrupted for a profit. That image was not much aided by my first (and second and third) call to Library System and Services Inc., the only library privatization company in the United States. LSSI now runs at least 15 library systems in California, Oregon, Tennessee, and Texas. This means it is, effectively, the fifth largest library system in the country. Time and again, I ran through an automated response system without finding a real person. A week’s worth of emails went unanswered. And then, there’s the message at one of LSSI’s libraries, which directs you press two for “costumer service.” Is this the future of the reference desk, I wondered? Not exactly the library system of my childhood, where each call about books on hold was answered by the same librarian I had known since I started attending kid’s corner book readings.”
WMFE 90.7 – “On a recent visit to an Osceola County Library branch, there were no visible signs to indicate that anything had changed, that the library had been turned over to a private company. But Osceola is the first and, so far, the only county library system in Florida to be privatized.
Because of falling tax revenues, Osceola six libraries had been running an annual deficit of $3 million dollars for several years.”
The Independent – “Public libraries could be set for a radical overhaul that could see books offered alongside coffee, murder mystery nights, poetry evenings and open mic sessions, should the plans of a private US company be given the green light. Library Systems & Services, a Maryland-based firm, owns 13 public libraries in the US. Its aim in Britain is to manage 15 per cent of public libraries within the next five years.
LSSI is in consultation with local authorities across the UK, proposing to transform libraries into “multifunctional spaces”. It hopes to have won contracts in at least four local authorities by the end of the year.”