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San Joaquin County to consider privatizing librarieshttp://www.lodinews.com/news/article_14f6af7a-9175-549a-bb11-bb28778d8252.htmlShould public libraries be put in private hands?http://www.scpr.org/programs/patt-morrison/2010/09/27/privatization-of-libraries/Library Systems & Serviceshttp://www.lssi.com/Carnegie Libraries: The Future Made Brighthttp://www.nps.gov/history/nr/twhp/wwwlps/lessons/50carnegie/50carnegie.htmBoston Athenaeumhttp://www.bostonathenaeum.org/Public-private partnerships in cities are nothing new, and many cities and political units have had experiences with partial or complete privatization of various services over the years. A recent wrinkle in this process is raising eyebrows across the country, as a number of public libraries in cities with struggling economies have been taken over by the Library Systems & Services (LSSI) company. Recently, the company was approached with and accepted an offer to run the libraries in the city of Santa Clarita, California for $4 million, a city that is relatively healthy economically. The company claims that they are able to reign in costs, and in an interview with the New York Times, their chief executive, Frank A. Pezzanite, noted, "A lot of libraries are atrocious. Their policies are all about job security. That is why the profession is nervous about us." Obviously, there are many people who are incensed by Pezzanite's comments and his approach to management, and a number of library employees are quite upset about the terms of the company's contract. Others believe that libraries are a public service that is too important to be handed over to a private, profit-driven company. It remains to be seen whether this trend will continue, but for now the number of libraries managed by LSSI constitute the country's fifth-largest library system.The first link will take users to an article from this Monday's New York Times about this recent library privatization in California. The second link leads to a recent piece in the Lodi News-Sentinel about the proposed privatization of libraries in San Joaquin County. Moving on, the third link leads to a conversation about the privatization of public libraries recently featured on Southern California Public Radio. The fourth link whisks users away to the homepage of LSSI. The fifth link leads to a lovely set of educational resources about the Carnegie libraries in the United States, courtesy of the National Park Service's Teaching with Historic Places Lesson Plans program. The final link leads to the homepage of the Boston Athenaeum, which is a different type of membership library entirely, founded in 1807.
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