In Hernando County,This is the kind of compromise we're forced to make when we decide we hate taxes more than we love democracy.

Dan DeWitt, St. Petersburg Times:
Hernando [county, Florida] officials weigh library offer from LSSI, a Maryland for-profit company...."this is the kind of compromise we're forced to make when we decide we hate taxes more than we love democracy."

Comments

I can't fly on the freakin Space Shuttle.

(unless you talk about some other NASA.)

yes, many governmental agencies contract out many services, but when the profit motive takes over the library, the library will lose its most basic mission. you can keep the homeless out of the mall because it's private property. at some point a private company can go back to the local government with safety concerns and say, "you need to pass a law to keep the mentally ill, convicted felons, the eldery, noisy kids, out of this 'public' space because our employees don't feel safe."
sure, it hasn't happened yet. but as soon as the companies get big enough, it will. remember when Google was a nice, innocent little search engine?

Reagan tried that route

He wanted to privatize the Space Shuttle and have the U.S. government PURCHASE tickets for its astronauts and cargo from the shuttle owners like buying a ticket on an airline.

He found no takers.

Privatized libraries exist, and the result is pretty much as described. The public is allowed access to basic materials on the first floor of the facilities, but cannot check out materials at all. To access the full collection requires a paid membership.

In fact New York City is seeing many of its private libraries, like the Mercantile Library, shutting down because its membership fees are no longer able to keep up with the cost of upkeep.

Other private libraries such as those run by the General Library Society or the New York Library Society are also falling on hard times, because they rely on private contribution and user fees. Per use used to run about the price of a movie ticket, but movie ticket prices are not what they used to be.

Privatization of libraries is not a new idea, however their very nature is what led to the creation of public libraries. Those who could afford access to them could get it, while those who could not had limited access.

Privatization is what has caused the massive rise of lobbying and all the corruption that goes along with it.

Contracting out isn't a total evil

Dr. McCook, I recognize that there are serious differences on this. Privatization seems to go against the grain for many librarians. If such was so bad, why is it used so heavily by NASA? The presenter of Tech for Techies worked his way up the ranks with an on-site support services contractor between 1979 and 2006. United Space Alliance is one of the contractors that works on quite a few vehicles full of hazardous materials that operate at fairly high speeds.

If there were to be real leadership on this, couldn't one library school or another put together model contracts for governing boards to consider? While privatization may not be the best case, in some political climates it is going to be unavoidable. A constructive way forward would be to find ways to mitigate damage to professional ideals that are still able to get past those who answer to voters. Libraries may be institutions of the people but for now the mob is cranky and prone to whinge.
________________________
Stephen Michael Kellat, Host, LISTen
PGP KeyID: 899C131F

Syndicate content