Are Privatized Public Libraries So Bad?
And, of course, there is a less tangible problem with library privatization: it makes many people very uncomfortable, even if they can't quite explain why. According to Patricia Tumulty, of the American Library Assocation, it comes down to questions of access. "With privatization, the public loses some direct control," she says. "You’re having the chief operating officer answerable to a third party rather than answerable directly to the public or the county commission."
But the question that resonates — not just for libraries, but for so many cities grappling with privatizing public services to cut costs — is one of community control. When a city lets a private company run the show, who controls the resource, and how much say do we get?