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Outsourcing Down in Dixie

Oh, Lordy, I’ve been waiting for something like this. In dire times local governments sometimes want to take the "public" out of "public library." The Seminole County (FL) government is no exception, though according to the article there’s a petition to stop the process. Right now they’re only seeking bids for outsiders to run the library.Unfortunately, the only plausible company is LSSI , and they’ve faced criticism from various quarters before, and in fact failed to get a different contract to run another Florida library system, as reported back in April in something called the "Library Journal."

If the Seminolians are to do business with LSSI or any other company, I suggest they do their research. Take a look at what one recent dissertation on the subject of outsourcing libraries has to say:

"It is a reality in any contracting relationship that the contractor has a greater amount of power than the entity in charge of overseeing the contract….The contractor has one job – to operate within the specifications laid out in the contract. The overseer of the contract, on the other hand, normally has a host of other duties and monitoring a particular contract is only a small part of their responsibilities. Because the power relationship is so skewed, it is in the best interests of the contracting agency to establish specific, measurable, assessment criteria in the contract for evaluation. Not only must the assessment criteria be specific and measurable, they should also include the discourse of the service that is being contracted out. Ambiguity as to what is assessed in contract oversight will always be to the detriment of the contracting organization. This ambiguity amounts to little more than ‘please run our library and in a year let us know if you are doing a good job.’

The contracting documents essentially show that those on the municipality side of the process abdicate the responsibility of knowing or deciding what the public library is to the community and what its focus for services and collections to the contractor. While the contractor conceivably should participate in the discourse as to what the library is and should be in order for it to perform well within the contract, even the contracts themselves are not final about the purpose and place of the library. In all of the contracts the municipality is looking to the contractor to define the public library in a given time period after the contract is already in place. The lack of detail in the descriptions of the citizens served by the library and the library itself, as well as a lack of detail about contract assessment, allude to a lack of importance attributed by the municipalities towards their public libraries and library service." (107-09)

Think about that for a moment, Seminolians. Do you want some company based in some place you’re not to decide "what the public library is to the community"? Well, maybe those in the government do. They can all probably afford Internet connections and Kindles and all the otheraccouterments of bourgeois civilization. They’re probably obtuse enough to believe that some company can run everything just the same, only for less money. Nothing suffers! They might not even consider the public educational function of the library. They are down in Dixie, after all.

Maybe they think that if the public library is all about bestsellers and videogames, then it doesn’t matter who runs it. Maybe they all mistakenly believe that privatization is always good because the market always provides the best services. Like the businessy librarians who don’t make fine enough distinctions between what works for private enterprise trying to please consumers and what’s necessary for the public good, they might think that outsourcing their public goods is a good idea.

If that’s the case, though, why not outsource the entire government? Does the county really need any public servants? Maybe they couldprivatize the schools next. And then the county government itself. Those county managers are probably pretty inefficient. After all, they’re public employees. Maybe they can outsource themselves and do everyone a favor. Somehow I think that’s not going to happen, though. The people who get to choose whom to fire never seem to fire themselves. Funny how that works.

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Comments

  1. Roper says:

    There’s some sense in the AL after all!

  2. LibarryGirl says:

    It is amazing how stupid government can be sometimes.

  3. Dances With Books says:

    I loved that last line: the people who do the firing never seem to fire themselves. Funny it how it works indeed. By the way, AL, did you see the story about that one public library putting one of those red DVD rental vending machines in front of the library? Another fine example of outsourcing (and not like they are making a lot in the deal, if at all). Maybe there is something to be said for futures depicted in films like “Robocop” where the police are privatized and owned by OCP. Then again, as you point out, it is Dixie. I am sure “edukashion” is not a big priority down there.

  4. NotMariantheLibrarian says:

    This once, AL, I have to disagree. It’s that last sentence. The person who outsourced my corporate job and gave me the axe? Got his ass shown the door. And hundreds cheered …

    There’s always an exception to the rule, right?

  5. Adam Smith says:

    This is another great example of a government service that has been running well for almost 150 years being undermined by blind ideology.

  6. Special Collection says:

    “Then again, as you point out, it is Dixie. I am sure “edukashion” is not a big priority down there.”

    Ho-hum. Here’s yet another person who’s ready to stereotype the entire South as backward and uneducated. Very ignorant.

  7. ChickenLittle says:

    I just took a revealing look at the web page of LSSI as I would encourage all of you to do. At the outset they give the appearance of a nice “Mom and Pop” shop, when in fact if you read between the lines they are owned by a large east coast venture capital fund. I found it interesting that the “employee of the month” they were featuring in their careers section was someone who “worked there way up” from a Page to working on the reference desk, no mention of an MLS in between. Overall a little scary….maybe our time has come!

  8. John says:

    Why should people be forced to pay for public library services if they do not wish them? Privatize the libraries.

    If people are not free to say ‘no’, then they aren’t really free.

  9. decent-looking straight guy says:

    “If that’s the case, though, why not outsource the entire government?”

    The Western world actually already tried that. It’s called feudalism.

    (Though I’m not a medievalist, I guess manorialism also represents and “outsourcing” of government too, come to think of it.)

    Neither is probably a good idea in the modern world.

  10. Post Postmodern Librarian says:

    I guess I ll go meet my ex reporter friend in the unemployment line after all. I wonder if these characters do gaming programing. (Ducks)

  11. ChickenLittle says:

    I guess what would be better? No library at all, or a “privatized” library offering some services that would in fact benefit the public? Scary choices I know, but we are living in strange and scary times where states are using IOU’s to pay for services!

  12. bob says:

    “Ho-hum. Here’s yet another person who’s ready to stereotype the entire South as backward and uneducated. Very ignorant.”

    Look at Gov. Jindal’s new education standards. Entirely backward and uneducated? No. But they sure are working on it. Not that it would take much in most places.

  13. Demsey says:

    Wholly outsourcing the public library is probably not a good idea; but outsourcing parts would help control costs. Being efficient is often not even on radar of public agencies; hiring friends, getting supplies from their cousin’s companies; those are often the priorites. Then again I only really know how things work in Chicago and Cook County (wait isn’t that how it will be done nationally now?).

    Privatizing education seems to work pretty well across the nation — just look most of the people in charge of government went to private schools.

    Anyway, just thought I would rain a bit here in the cave.

  14. observer says:

    Look at Gov. Jindal’s new education standards.

    If you think Louisiana is representative enough of the “South” for a Louisiana example to be meaningful, you know little about either Louisiana or the U.S. South.

    Who is it that’s ill-informed again?

  15. Cincinnati NAMjA says:

    Isn;t it better to outsource the library rather than loose it completly?

  16. Mr. Kat says:

    The only reason a number of good libraries exist in the first place is becauae a man named Carnegie decided his fortune should be spent building libraries. That wasn’t public money – which suggests the public really isn’t interested enough in these sorts of liberal things like free libraries as to want to pay for it themselves.

    The only good part left attached to the librarian gig was that little slice of retirement and the benefits. Guess what kind of benefits you get working as a contractor for a contractor – ZILCH!

    Unless, of course, you get those benefits written into your contract at the onset. The only problem is that the contractors can put up contracts at will and since there are so many MLS people willing to do jobs for peanuts, [too much supply], the contractors can tell you to take your demands and walk!

    And here’s another tidbit I have learned well by the school of hard knocks this last year: when you work for a contractor, you are by all technical definitions Self-employed, which means you had better be sending in between 15 and 30% of your check to the government every month to pay your taxes, social security, fica, and medicare taxes. The good news is that sine as a librarian you will make so little, you will probably get roughly half of what you put in back on your tax return. 15% of a $25,000 salary is $2,750.

    I’m not one bit surprised about this outsourcing business. I saw so many presentations on outsource services [catalog services, bibliography services, reference services, etc] in grad school that after a while I was beginning to wonder why they had people with MLSs hanging around any more. I seem to remember looks of petrifying horror and perturbed ice when I asked about the full ramifications of this outsourcing…Nobody likes a Nosybody!

  17. NotMarianTheLibrarian says:

    Mr. Kat, some outsourcing makes sense. The amount of time we spend farting around with order forms, acquisitions personnel, cataloging personnel, etc. is time wasted. Perhaps the threat of outsourcing their function might get their butts moving and adopting a better way of doing things. Process review can be a very positive undertaking if it benefits employees and users. Sure, it won’t benefit every employee – some might get placed in public services and the under-performing might be shown the door. All of it perfectly legal in this little slice of the right-to-work South.

  18. Post Postmodern Librarian says:

    I think its interesting how lines are being draw between different groups of librarians in order to protect their jobs, prove their worth and aim the finger pointing at others. You can see it all in this blog and blog comments. Reference librarians fear technology because its making them obsolete. The answer is to get books/readers in and outsource technical. Public Service for lack of a better term worry about programing and see reference as outdated and only need technical to set up the WIIs. Technical people are worried about outsourcing since libraries can get publishers to do their jobs and any 17 year old can set up a WII. Then finally the managers are fighting government and the MBAs. While these are all generalizations really look at them and notice this one important thing. As good ole Abbe would say A house divided can not stand. If we are going to save libraries and librarianship then we must rally to each other.

  19. Techserving You says:

    Yes, outsourcing certain functions to vendors (for instance, physical processing, some cataloging, various acquisitions functions, etc.) makes great sense from every angle EXCEPT from the ‘everyone deserves to have a job for life’ angle. It saves time and money and in many cases quality goes up. Newsflash – many people who work at vendors are ‘trained librarians’ (with masters degrees) and know what they are doing. There really is no reason to keep certain processes in-house except for the fact that ‘it has always been done this way’ (because in the past vendors did not offer outsourced tech. svs. functions.) LSSI is a whole other ballgame. I had never heard of it looked at their website, and found it to be pretty interesting. I don’t think there’s anything inherently BAD in it. The downsides really just seem to be those things already mentioned – that the employees become employees of LSSI instead of employees of the city or town. That might mean reduced benefits and maybe pay. But there might be no downside to the patrons, and libraries are supposedly there for the patrons. A lot of times when librarians whine about change it’s because they’re looking out for number one… of course disguised as wanting to keep up ‘quality of service.’

  20. rt3rp says:

    Who gives a $hit about public libraries?

    Stop being so annoying and tell us the best place in Chicago to get a martini.

    Or the best place in Chicago to get laid.

    Important stuff like that.

  21. another f-ing librarian says:

    hm. guess we’re *all* ‘annoyed’ today.

    i want a bloody mary.

  22. kkk5e says:

    Libraries in Dixie?

    Libraries in Montana?

    C’mon AL, you can do better than that.

    If they did an Interlibrary Loan between the libraries in Dixie and Montana they would have to shut down because the book was off the shelf.

  23. Whining Librarian says:

    I’d be OK with my library being outsourced to a university (public OR private). They’d have to run it better than the government does.

  24. swish says:

    “Maybe they could privatize the schools next,” you say. Been done. And still going on, although not at the level of the past eight years. Edison Schools is the main company contracting to provide “public” education.

  25. NotMarianTheLibrarian says:

    If a vendor can get a book to my faculty and students in two weeks as opposed to the three-four months (or more) our Tech Services takes? Outsource the function – we are here to serve our tuition-paying clientele. Not folks who are terrified of reviewing their ass-backwards processes just in case they lose their jobs.

    Yeah yeah our catalogers go on and on about how important bibliographic control is. Our users don’t really care though – remember, they aren’t plowing through old-fashioned card catalogs where one wanted standardized entries (mostly ’cause you could easily see those blinding errors). They just want the material and they want it now, not when you have “perfected” a record created by the Library of Congress. Sheesh – if the record is DLC I say go with it and get it on the shelf!!!!!

  26. csbpc says:

    I think most libraries would be well served by privatizing the function of security and enabling said force to boot the drunks, the odiferous, the porn addicts and the camp-at-a-table-all-day indigent out, thereby making the library palatable for the tax-paying citizens again–you know, the people who bought all the material in the first place.

  27. me too says:

    csbpc
    Ever heard of the ACLU. Privatizing the staff, not the library is what LSSI does. So they won’t have any control over who comes into the library. They’ll only control who gets hired, how much they get paid, what kind of benefits, if any they give and how much money they (LSSI) can make in the process.

  28. me too says:

    I’m astonished that so many forward thinking librarians hold our southern and western states in such derision. God, I would have thought that kind of elitism would have been washed out of the library profession by now. Pompous Ass Librarians are nobody’s Pals.

  29. hhse6 says:

    If you don’t live in the Northeast or the California coast, you might as well live in Antarctica.

  30. Matt says:

    And if you do live in the Northeast or California coast you might as well live in Mordor, or whatever other hellish place you can think of.

  31. 75cdt says:

    hhsec: That would explain why all the Californians are moving away and invading the midwest.

  32. NotMarianTheLibrarian says:

    Much of it is a state of mind – the South that is. I’m glad a lot of the ugliness racism, discrimination, hate) has left though pockets remain. The heat and humidity are oppressive but the arthritic hip prefers heat. But there is still a sweetness, a goodness here that I’ve not found anywhere else. Santa Fe, Seattle, New York, Boston – there are days I’d like to resettle, but I could never really be happy elsewhere. And, believe it or not, there are lots of liberals, Democrats, and free-thinkers here. Ya just gotta find them.

  33. Techserving You says:

    Just a note about the librarians wringing their hands over bibliographic control and not accepting DLC as perfect enough and therefore criticizing outsourcing… I just wanted to point out that while there are several less-expensive but less ‘perfect’ options, some vendors can also fully-customize monograph records (and even some serials records though they would need even more local information). Vendors CAN provide records as ‘perfect’ as the catalogers would provide. Many major libraries (including Harvard and Yale) are opting to have many of their books come in either partially (meaning cataloged) or completely shelf-ready. If Harvard and Yale are willing, I would think it would be okay for Podunk U.

  34. kfcd2 says:

    Gosh, and Harvard and Yale fell all over themselves to let Google scan their books.

    That worked out really well for the library user, didn’t it?

  35. Techserving You says:

    One thing has absolutely nothing to do with the other. They have superior collections (even Ivy League haters can agree with that) as well as superior technical services. If they choose to outsource, that means something. And I have been on both the inside of one of those two schools, as well as on the inside of a vendor. I know it was not a matter of the higher-ups, with no regard to quality, deciding to outsource.

  36. Techserving You says:

    Also, I am wondering how you think that having a vendor catalog a book – to the school’s exact specifications – and physically process it – to look exactly as those processed by the school look – would have any impact on the user whatsoever. This discussion has progressed to talk of any outsourcing. We’re talking outsourcing technical services functions so books come in shelf-ready. We’re not talking about a vendor managing the Harvard University Libraries or something.

  37. kfcd2 says:

    My point about Google Books and Harvard and Yale is that just because you are big doesn’t mean you are best or make the best decisions.

    By the time we had a vendor up to speed about our unique clientele and how we provide them with what they want and in a manner they want; we would have paid them way more than if we just did it in house.

  38. Auntie Nanuuq says:

    “Why should people be forced to pay for public library services if they do not wish them?”

    Maybe for the same reason I have to pay taxes for education, public schools, and the ‘Free Lunch Program’, when I do not (or ever will) have children who will use those services.

  39. John says:

    “Why should people be forced to pay for public library services if they do not wish them?”

    Maybe for the same reason I have to pay taxes for education, public schools, and the ‘Free Lunch Program’, when I do not (or ever will) have children who will use those services.

    And what reason would that be?

  40. Techserving You says:

    kfcd2 – yes, I understood what point you were trying to make, but I don’t think you used the best example or should have talked about the impact on users, when I was talking about something that really only impacts (or would be noticed by) the extremely-detail-oriented and anal librarians. I think that in that particular arena, with the sort of collections they have and their attention to the almight ‘bibliographic control’ they are an example to be looked upon. I do agree that whether outsourcing is cost-effective certainly depends on the particulars of the situation, but that doesn’t mean that the quality of the product is bad.

  41. Techserving You says:

    Oh, I do have to say that the process of taking specifications is free, at least at the vendor where I worked, even when it was a very lengthy process. Libraries only paid when they entered into a contract and were satisfied with the work. And I was talking purely about physical processing (stamps, barcodes, RFID tags, etc.) and cataloging. Vendors can handle very detail-oriented customization, as well as specialized cataloging schemes like NLM. Disclaimer – I am now at a private academic library and do NOT work for a vendor, so I have no vested interest in touting the advantages of outsourcing those things. I’m just really impressed with what can be done – and done WELL – by vendors. And of course, many of the libraries are finding it very cost-effective because although these services aren’t inexpensive, the library downsize or repurpose staff. And also, there are ways to include the prices for these services in the price the library pays for the book, so that book budgets – which for many libraries never get used up – can pay for the services. (That I think is a little dishonest… deeds of gift often have strict stipulations and to get around it libraries hide the fact that they are spending the funds on services by including that price on the book invoice.) By I digress….

  42. Bruno says:

    “Why should people have to pay for libraries, schools, and free lunches?”

    That is easy, a well educated society is good for everybody! (and you have to eat so your brain will work well).

  43. Post Postmodern Librarian says:

    Book budgets never get used up? What libraries are you working at? I am at a library which struggles bring books in. LIS classes talk about maintaining your book/materials budget. Lord if there is a job open in a library that can not spend its book budget let me know I ll be glade to help!

  44. Blah says:

    We actually have librarians in our system that constantly volunteer to give their money away to other categories – like teen or DVD with the added proviso – that they will have less money to spend and therefore less work to do. It also helps them make or break staff allegiances in the never ending turf warfare.

  45. Mr. Kat says:

    I agree that outsourcing Technical Services is a great move in the right direction. In house worked great while the world was MARC, but now MARC is no longer the sole controller. And while Marc has certainly not kept pace with modern technology, neither has inhouse technical services – particularly those still yoked to the old bibliogrhapy engines.

    Outsoucing this work to an agency means the work can be done at a much lower price by someone who is not a degree holder. Further, one agency can do a large amount of work versus a technical services department that has a day long rush and then a month long lull once the month’s processing is done.

    The whole problem with this situation, though, is that our everpresent MBA Community Organizer Library Directors look at how effective this solution is in one department and apply it across the library. If this outsourcing thing catches on, it is indeed posisble that we will see one of two things happen.

    If this goes in our favor, we will see the MLS finally gain true value. Let us say that Agency X has a stipulation in their contract that they will provide a MLS holding librarian at specific sets of time – so now that agency has to find MLS holders to fill the positions. If you don’t have the MLS, no amount of politics will get you the job, because the contract stipulation is that the agency provides one. The agency will obviously try to get the workers who have the lowest cost, so rather than hiring two full time MLS holders, they might hire a pool of Temp Librarians who then staff libraries as MLS librarians are needed. This will be great for MLS holders because a single agency would finally verify for us just how real this whole “Librarian Shortage” myth truly is! if there is a shortage, we would then have a placement agency actively seeding us into the profession.

    On the other hand, this could go poorly. Library agencies could recognize that the MLS is simply not worth anything because their pre-packaged library work does not require a librarian at all. All it requires is a human being to show up, open the library doors, and follow the daily itinerary. The workshops and self-help groups are led by volunteers and local non-profit organizations, who are eager to put themselves into community places. Activities would mean a person would simply have to open the prepackaged box, open the booklet inside to the box, hand out the materials, and guide the group through the activity as per the instructions. Reference work is covered by a electronic/telephonic service [I saw one of these examples in grad school, ha!!]. And your regular volunteer or general worker would do material handling. In short, the library degree would become worthless because there aren’t any positions available in the first place – and you thought the job market was tight today!!!

  46. k77eb says:

    We have totally outsourced our technical services, we get all our books from a vendor in shelf ready format. Then work release prisoners put them on the shelves. Circulation is done automatically with self-check kiosks. Reference is a computer hooked up to Google and a direct phone connection to KGB.

    Fortunately, we cannot out source the directorship.

  47. Techserving You says:

    I have worked in Acquisitions in many libraries, and believe it or not, there are many very wealthy libraries that have more money for books than they can even spend. It’s not a matter of not wanting to use it so that we’ll have less work to do. Some endowed funds have grown so much that we have more funds than our needs require. You struggle to use as much of it as possible by the end of the fiscal year – hence the major rush of acquisitions at many libraries in June. If only those funds could be diverted to staff pay….

  48. NotMariantheLibrarian says:

    “By the time we had a vendor up to speed about our unique clientele and how we provide them with what they want and in a manner they want; we would have paid them way more than if we just did it in house.”

    That’s assuming a lot on the part of your clientele, kfcd2. Are they catalogers? Doddery old faculty emeriti who remember their LCSH?

    Our students just want their stuff and (HORRORS!!!) they’re identifying it by KEYWORD searches. Our catalogers drone on and on about “bibliographic control” but refuse to come out from behind their locked door to work the public service desks. They might learn something about why we’re here (students). When our tech services professional staff were hired we still had a card catalog – those days are gone. We’ve adapted to a new “business model” and perhaps they should too. I’m not advocating an RIF – I would happily relinquish my committee work, liaison work and acquisitions responsibilities. If I could get rid of those duties I could have that 60 minute lunch.

  49. Techserving You says:

    The records vendors provide are still MARC, and DLC. If the patrons ARE catalogers and people who remember LCSH, that doesn’t matter, because that’s what the libraries are still getting, even if the cataloging has been outsourced. I can’t imagine what sort of specialized users a library might have that it would make taking specifications such a time-consuming process. It’s not usually the users – and I mean even high-level researchers – who want things just so. They almost never view the MARC record, anyway. It may be that they are used to seeing, for instance, a trailing X on a call number, or some sort of specialized in-house call number system… that can still be done by a vendor, if need be. But it’s mostly the catalogers who wring their hands over minute details in records, and even catalogers have been impressed by customized vendor-created records. The records do not have to be any different from what the catalogers would have done in-house. I’m not even talking about a shift to some other kind of non-MARC based cataloging, as some people here seem to be. Vendors can do exactly what the catalogers in the library do. That’s not to say that the specification-writing process is always a quick one. I have, in the past, tweaked specifications for a year. But that was in the case of a huge university which outsourced all their cataloging, and each branch library had different conventions, and they wanted to keep it that way. As I said, that tweaking was essentially free. The university was only ever charged a nominal programming fee, and then charged for the end-product. And in the end, having all their records created by a vendor cost a LOT less than paying catalogers salaries and benefits.

  50. 5nbpd says:

    me too commented:

    csbpc
    Ever heard of the ACLU.

    Public drunkenness and smelling like a corpse is a civil liberty, huh? Who knew?

  51. John says:

    Bruno wrote:

    “Why should people have to pay for libraries, schools, and free lunches?”

    That is easy, a well educated society is good for everybody! (and you have to eat so your brain will work well).

    So you get to determine what is ‘good’, and other people are required to pay for it.

    Why not let individuals make their own decisions what is a ‘good’ way to spend their money?

  52. Mr. Kat says:

    Because in general, individuals only think about what is directly good for themselves, and often forget that what is good for others is indeed good for themselves as well. And further, but the time individuals realize such things are good for themselves, it is often after they need it and by that time it is far too late to prepare what is needed. It takes ten years to train a heart surgeon – plus the 16 odd years of public education before the graduate work. Now why on earth woudl you want to pay for all or part of his 26 years of education? Well, in 26 years you might need a heart bypass – but by then it would be far too late to requisition a heart surgeon because nobody was willing to pay for him then.

    Education is an INVESTMENT. We ALL benefit from the products of a good educational system, just as we all suffer from the products of a bad educational system.

    In a National situation, there is no such thing as a “bad apple” that has to be weeded out and removed – all apples are seen as equals in this nation. Therefore, the idea of pulling up and going to a provate charter school will merely weaken this nation further, not strengthen it.

  53. ChickenLittle says:

    “NotMariontheLibrarian”…you make some good comments regarding cataloging and bibliographic control. I don’t understand why catalogers drone on about this anyway….bibliographic “control” is set by publishers, not librarians! In actuality we no longer require MARC because publishers already send out the bib information in XML format which could be directly imported into our catalogs which are now XML compatible. why do we take an publisher’s ONIX XML record and turn it into MARC, when we could have already just imported it into the catalog directly? Does not make sense to me and this is an expensive time consuming middle tier we have to eliminate!

  54. I Like Books says:

    I thought we were past the privatization phase. I remember a business major telling me that a private company would run the postal system so much more efficiently that you could mail a letter for seven cents. But compare parcel rates for UPS and US Post and tell me how efficient they are. And then there was move to privatize prisons on the theory that a private company would be so much more efficient that there would be a considerable cost savings– it didn’t work out that way.

    The ideology says that government is inherently inefficient because it has no motivation to reduce costs, since it can always raise taxes again. But ask any public librarian about their largess. Heck, ask Governor Schwarzenegger how that’s working out. Below the executive officers and the state senate, there just isn’t that much difference between a public or private firm, and the public sector has always been under pressure to reduce costs, and held accountable for it, or their budgets simply restricted by fiat. It’s not like a private contractor can spend less money and add more material to the collection, dontchaknow.

  55. Mr. Kat says:

    RIGHT ON, Chicken Little!!! This is where private companies have the advantage, espcially if they get a couple libreris {LARGE ONES] under their belt – they can change the catalog format overnight, with a little work, and get frontside to the region with only one installation required – and an update of the library webpage. Amazon is on the right track when it comes to the future of book catalogs – add Local holdings and local library Location/Section/LC call numbers to the Amazon listings, and you have a killer catalog that would effectively end Marc. I believe it’s a matter of when, not if.

  56. Floridian says:

    I was excited at first that there was something written about the situation in Florida in which a number of government officials throughout the state have been approached by LSSI about running various community libraries. I felt that something written about this in Library Journal would help support the people of Seminole County who are fighting this proposal. But as a Florida Librarian and as a resident of Seminole County I am offended by the characterization that people living in “Dixie” are automatically obtuse and oblivious to the fact that libraries have a role in life long learning. I believe that libraries and Floridians would have been better served if you supported those who are fighting against this proposal from LSSI rather than characterizing the residents of the state as backwards and uneducated.