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InTheseTimes takes a look at libraries that are being managed by private companies. They point out the trend of farming out public libraries to a private, profit-oriented business has raised concerns. For one, private companies are not subject to the same oversight as are public institutions. More importantly, libraries have long been considered democratic bodies built on the cornerstone of information diversity, transparency and intellectual freedom.
“Libraries tend to reflect the communities they serve,” says Loriene Roy, president of the American Library Association (ALA). “[They] respond to community needs and they do so within their budget, but they are not set up to make profit. A company coming in that doesn’t exist within the community that is profit-making, you can see that there is a different attitude and there is concern about that.”