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Privatizing Escondido's Public Library?

The Escondido City Council is considering plans to outsource the Escondido Public Library to a Maryland-based for-profit company, Library Systems and Services (LS&S). The first the public had any chance to hear about and comment on this was Tuesday July 11 at at a 2pm Library Board of Trustees meeting where LS&S made a presentation. Over 100 residents came to the meeting and many spoke eloquently about their opposition to this move, and are organizing to continue to speak out and stop this from happening. See the meeting summary below, provided by Escondido Indivisible.

Next Steps

According to City Manager Epps, city staff are analyzing how much money this move would save (based on what assumptions was left vague). He thought that would take another couple of weeks. If the conclusion is that it will save significant money, the city will ask LS&S for an official proposal. The City Council will decide whether to consider this proposal, and if they decide yes, they will put it on a City Council meeting agenda.

What You Can Do

  • Escondido Indivisible is organizing resistance to the privatization plan. Come to their meeting,  Monday, July 24, 6:30 PM (social and snacks start at 6PM) at the Chalice Unitarian Church, 2324 Miller Ave, Escondido, to learn more about this issue and plan our next steps to defend our public library.
  • E-mail or call city council and library trustees to voice your concerns. 
    City Council:
    Library Board of Trustees:
  • Write a letter to the editor of the San Diego Union Tribune. 150 words or less and send to include your name and city of residence.

Upcoming Events

July 24, 6:30 pm, Escondido Indivisible meeting.  Chalice Unitarian Church, 2324 Miller Ave, Escondido.

August 8, 2:00 pm, Library Trustee meeting. Escondido Library.


News articles: Times AdvocateSan Diego Union Tribune

Op-Eds: Shifting Library to private hands a bad moveKeep Escondido Public Library PublicHandy Sign that Government is Shirking its duty: Privatize the Library 

 American Library Association publication on questions communities should ask when considering privatization of libraries: Keeping Public Libraries Public: A Checklist for Communities Considering Privatization of Public Libraries

Meeting Summaries

7/11/17 Library Board of Trustees Meeting
(summary provided by Escondido Indivisible)

The room was packed and dozens of residents testified against the idea of handing over our library services and programs to a corporate interest.  Not one speaker was in support of the misguided idea of Mayor Sam Abed and the other men on the Escondido City council. 

Councilmember Olga Diaz was brilliant in her defense of the library and is the only reason we even knew about the meeting and the secret plan.  

The public was eloquent in their defense of our incredible library which, all agreed, is a jewel--professionally and caringly operated by a fantastic staff and volunteers.  They reminded the trustees of ‘the ethical imperative of a library is to present diverse points of view’, something that a one-library-fits-all corporate model does not accommodate. Others pointed out that a ‘library is an elevation of a city’ and that a corporation from Baltimore ‘does not care more about my library than I do’.

Jeff Epps, the highly-paid City Manager (making over $280,000 base pay) complained that it was the pension costs of our librarians that were making the city look seriously at this. His recent $50,000 raise and the over $100,000 annual losses of the Reidy Creek Golf Course were mentioned by speakers as less damaging to our young people and families and were better places to start saving money.  He was reminded by several speakers that the city council is not trusted after having permanently closed the East Branch Library in an area needing it most. 

The corporation, LS&S has a sketchy reputation. There was precious little information in the PR presentation given. Attendees asked especially about what the corporate profit margin was because that represents the amount of our tax dollars that will be leaving our city for shareholders elsewhere.  This company is well-advised that this buzz-saw of opposition will only get worse. 

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