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The libraries are fine

Posted: August 14, 2010 6:24 p.m.
Updated: August 15, 2010 4:55 a.m.

A recent editorial, “The city should take over the SCV’s libraries” (Aug. 1), stated that “Santa Clarita is the biggest city in Los Angeles County not to have its own library system.” That comes off like “all the other kids have one.” We don’t need our own library; we are part of a library system that provides services the city can never hope to match.

I used ReferenceUSA to look at Library Systems & Services (LSSI), the private company that runs libraries. They don’t disclose their profits. Under proposed plans to privatize, we would never know where our tax dollars are going. When you’re “for-profit,” the profit comes first; there’s no transparency.

LSSI-run libraries also depend on volunteers (part of their profit plan). I’m not sure why anyone would want to volunteer in a for-profit company; there are so many other places in this community that need and deserve our help.

Yes, our tax dollars support libraries throughout the county. In return, we have free, easy access to every one of the 7 million volumes on their collective shelves. Under the city’s proposed plan, we will have a small, homogeneous collection, chosen for us by LSSI (which also brings up the issue of bias).

If we want any book that’s not on the shelf in Santa Clarita, we’re going to pay inter-library loan fees. It’s that simple. I called
the Moorpark City Library (run by LSSI) and was told the average wait for an ordered book is one month — if the owning library is willing to let it go.

The city has not said exactly what services we lack; longer hours don’t mean better service. We don’t want a private, for-profit company running our libraries and ordering our books. The county offers us the best deal; let’s keep our libraries free.


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