Mike came home this evening with a flyer from our local library. I’m not sure what I make of it. I’m going to share the pertinent bits of the flyer and my thoughts. If you disagree or have something to add, I would REALLY, REALLY appreciate the input.
Keep our Seminole County Public Libraries Public!
Seminole County Gov’t has posted a request for proposals for privatizing the library system. They are suggesting that outsourcing the library system to a private FOR PROFIT (their capitalization, not mine) company would save the county money, but at what cost to us, the citizens?
* A for-profit company is actually seeking to make a profit off of our tax dollars. (Umm…who builds the roads, libraries, other structures, etc? Private companies! who win the bid for a gov’t job. And, yes!!!, they do it to make money. Why is that bad?)
*Service to the citizen will no longer be the priority, profit will. (My experience has always been that someone looking to make a profit WILL go out of their way to make a customer happy. Maybe it’s just me, but my experience with people who work for our local gov’t really don’t give a flying f***)
*A for-profit company (WHEN did it become a bad thing to run a business to make a profit? Isn’t that how most of us earn our livings? Really, has it come to for-profit=evil? That makes no sense at all.) will now hold all of our private citizen’s (note bad punctuation – from a library lover no less) personal records that were entrusted to the library. (Help me out here. I, 15 years ago, gave the library my driver’s license from which they copied my name and address. It’s 2009, does anyone really think their names and addresses are secret? And, what exactly would this nefarious library company do with your addresses? Sorry, I’m not feeling threatened.)
*The company currently under consideration is not even locally owned (I know you guys read from all over, how many library management companies ‘live’ in your area?), but out of state and none of the profit would stay in Seminole County. (What the flyer fails to mention is that the company in question goes out of its way to hire local employees – and aren’t those jobs kept a stimulus to the economy?)
That’s the “meat” of the flyer. They have a blog, but it has no more details or information. If you’ve read my blog for any length of time, you’ve heard me bitch about our local library. The people are lovely – the contents, not so much. They rarely have what we need or are looking for – ever.
The other thing the “meat” of the flyer fails to mention is that by privatizing, the employees of the library are no longer county employees. They no longer have that union protection. And, as much as I like our librarians, I can’t jump on board funding their county-paid retirements when we ourselves have been set back a good 20 years. And, I KNOW Mike and I are not alone.
Anyway, the flyer annoyed the heck out of me. They did not present even ONE good reason to oppose letting a FOR PROFIT company coming in and saving it. The website annoyed the heck out of me too. No details. No links. No foundation. Nothing. http://keepingpublicseminolepubliclibrary.blogsot.com
I need to sleep on it, but I will be emailing my County Commissioner tomorrow to let him know that I am all for privatizing the library’s operations.
Am I way out of line? I know I’m not heartless, but . . .