Escondido library management change still set for Jan. 15

From San Diego Union Tribune

” Despite a lawsuit challenging the Escondido City Council’s right to outsource management of the library, the contract with the private company hired to run the facility will go into effect as planned on Jan. 15, city officials said.In Vista Superior Court on Tuesday, a judge told attorneys representing both sides of the case that it likely would not be until spring before a full hearing could be held.Attorney Alan Geraci told Judge Earl Maas he had not filed a motion for a preliminary injunction, or requested a temporary restraining order seeking a stay to the implementation of the contract between the city and Maryland-based Library Systems & Services (LS&S), because he needed to do more research first.After the hearing, Geraci said he had hoped the city would voluntarily delay the contract’s start date in light of the legal challenge, but that hasn’t happened.The lawsuit, filed on behalf of longtime Escondido residents Roy and Mary Garrett, contends the city’s contract with the private company is illegal because state education code says it’s the library’s board of trustees, not the council, that has control over the operations and management of the library.”


From East County Magazine

” November 29, 2017 (Escondido) — Libraries are vital sources of information for students, researchers, and the public. But now, the city of Escondido has voted to privatize its public library on Kalmia Street by hiring Library Systems, a Maryland-based company, over the objections of the library’s trustees. The city claims it could save $400,000 a year through private operation of the library.Now two library patrons, Roy and Mary Garrett, have filed a lawsuit against Escondido that claims the action is illegal under California law, Times of San Diego reports.Opponents of a move by the city of Escondido to outsource its library functions to save money announced Tuesday that they’ve filed a lawsuit contending that the action violated state law. Their attorney, Alan Geraci, says, “By forcing privatization of our library, the City Council failed the community, failed the library workers and failed to follow the law.Privatizing the library could also stop construction of a proposed new library at Escondido’s Grape Day Park.Roy Garrett, a long-time supporter of the library says, “Now the city manager, the mayor and City Council majority have broken faith with all the Escondido residents, taxpayers, volunteers, library employees and donors who created and nurtured this heart of our city, our 100-year-old public library, and turned it into a profit center for a corporation.”The County’s 33 libraries are all public, as are libraries run by other cities in our region. But privatization has become a hot button issue across the nation.”

Escondido library to be run by Maryland company

From Dan Diego Reader

” On October 18th, dozens of Escondido residents rallied one last time to keep their public library from being outsourced to an East Coast company. The library belongs to the community, they told the city council; it should not be run by spreadsheet. But in the end, cost-cutting won out, 4-1.”We’re not going to outsource our police or fire,” said mayor Sam Abed. The city expects to save $400,000 annually, with “at least half a million in pensions,” Abed said. “We must do this to be a financially viable city.”The vote affirms a ten-year contract with Maryland-based Library Systems & Services. The proposal was first presented months ago as a five-year term, and has been strongly opposed all along.”The contract rate steadily increases each year,” said resident Liz White at the meeting. “No wonder it went from five to a whopping ten-year term.” White mentioned a scathing performance report by an Oregon county, where she said the company was taking 30 to 35 percent profit.Councilmember Michael Morasco said the longer-term contract will save the city money: 4 percent vs. 3 percent. Library advocates fear major staff and service cuts and a collection not up to par. The outsourcing is opposed by the Escondido Library Board of Trustees, Library Foundation, and American Library Association.”

Escondido’s library outsourcing debate could end up in court

From The San Diego Union-Tribune

“Should the Escondido City Council go through with its plans to outsource the city’s library services to a private company, the matter could well end up before a judge.At issue will be a provision of the state’s Municipal Libraries Act that states the public library shall be managed by a library board of trustees.Retired Escondido attorney Roy Garrett, who has been involved in several successful lawsuits against the city, maintains the act means the City Council does not have the right to outsource library services; that decision should be made by the trustees.Escondido, in a letter penned by City Attorney Michael McGuinness and sent to the trustees on Tuesday, says Garrett’s interpretation of the act is wrong.Last month, the library’s trustees voted unanimously to oppose outsourcing the library services.Nevertheless, on Aug. 23, by a 3 to 2 vote, the council ignored that recommendation, as well as pleas from dozens of library users and national library associations, and voted to pursue a contract with Maryland-based Library Services & Systems (LS&S), a private company that manages nearly 100 public libraries around the country.The stated reason of Mayor Sam Abed, and councilmen Ed Gallo and John Masson, was that they believed the private company could do a better and more affordable job of running the library than the current city staff does. By going with the private firm, they said, $400,000 could be saved each year and the city’s long-term unfunded pension liability crisis could be lessened.”

Escondido privatizes public library

From Fox San Diego

” The Escondido City Council voted Wednesday night to privatize the city library, ignoring pleas from hundreds of residents who turned out to oppose the move.The City Council chamber was packed for the meeting, with the vast majority of attendees clearly concerned about the plan to turn the city’s library over to Library Systems and Services, a Maryland-based management company.”Do not do this,” one speaker urged. “This proposed contract is a mistake.””We’re paying a private equity firm here $2.4 million a year,” another said. “It’s wrong. Please listen to these citizens.”Before the meeting began, library supporters took to the streets to rally opposition to the plan. Opponents said that giving control of the library to a private company will be the beginning of the end.”We have a Barnes and Noble in town,’ said Debbie Resler, Library Supporter. “I happen to be very fond of that store, but we have one. We don’t need our library to be another clone of that .”It’s their policy to buy books in bulk and so kind of a Costco approach to it. So we’ll be getting the same books they get in Maryland and other libraries they control in the country,” said Brenda Townsend, Library Volunteer.”

Escondido privatizes public library

Escondido: Whiz kids make prosthetic hand in library’s community laboratory


” A California man who just received a new prosthetic hand can thank some unlikely creators.The only thing more surprising than who made it, is where it comes from.Nick Sissakis finally got to experience one of life’s great pleasures for the first time – scratching his back with the hand he’s never had.After walking into the library a few months back, the 39 year old dad stumbled upon the Innovations Lab – a creative and collaborative space where tech savvy librarians work with community members to make stuff.”