Welcome to the Escondido Public Library Watchdog.
Why a Watchdog? We believe that an important public good, like a library, should not be handed over to a private entity firm. We hold that public libraries should be operated by and for the public. In the almost two years our Library has been operated by a corporate interest significant problems are evident. Corporate protections in the city-adopted contract do not allow for effective, transparent, or even credible, oversight of corporate performance. Important information is kept from the Library Board of Trustees and the public. Financial information, salaries, and qualifications are unknown, staff turnover un-trackable, data is not transparent, key staff are not ‘hired’ by the Trustees, but rather presented to them from a candidate pool of one. The Watchdog seeks to provide some public oversight for our library.
Two years later all we have to show is a decimated staff, a 3-D printer no one can use, and no restored services to our East Valley community.
Now, new efforts are afoot about expanding the library or building a new one at significant tax-payer expense and operated by a corporation. Soon, the public will be surveyed about whether they would support funding for a new library. The Watchdog is calling for other public-operated library options to be considered such as County or Palomar College branches. If you care about quality libraries, we encourage you to get involved and stay involved.
Here is a quick guide to our website
Share a Concern about the Library We will try to look into your concern or answer any questions. If you have a library concern please contact us here.
Escondido Library Board of Trustees if you want information on the trustees and their deliberations.
Watchdog Actions if you want to read our letters or learn how to take action.
Stop Library Outsourcing if you want to know the history of our struggle and issues related to LS&S elsewhere.
Updates/Blog to read previous messages or to join our listserve, sign up here.
Why we are opposed to LS&S operation of our library
The Watchdog is opposed to operation of our public library for profit by a private corporation. In this case of Library Services and Systems (LS&S) is owned by a private equity firm. LS&S receives our tax-dollars to operate the library, takes profits from our tax-dollars, and, in fact, receives an automatic increase no matter how they perform. This is bad public policy.
A few of our concerns are outlined in the letters and information below. More can be found on the Stop Library Outsourcing page however a particularly instructive letter is excerpted below.
Letter from a former Jackson County leader about problems with LS&S there, October 16, 2017.
Letter Excerpt: In 2015, after witnessing staff turnover and hearing of profound discontent, the library district board hired a renowned public library expert to evaluate the management of the Jackson County Library System. That report is available online and speaks for itself as to the efficacy of the outside management firm and its ability to manage our libraries over its eleven-year tenure. Since the report, the JCLD board has repeatedly urged for higher salaries and better benefits for staff as a way to quell staff turnover and offered more money to execute that action. Yet, the outside management team has lumbered to meet that request. Clearly, to meet expectations of hedge fund investors, management has relied on volunteers and minimum wage employees to ensure profits and overhead are met while simultaneously meeting minimum requirements for hours and staffing levels.
Save our Escondido Library Coalition to BOT Concerns about LS&S performance in other areas. July 28,2017
To City Council, Escondido Indivisible opposition to outsourcing action, September 7, 2017
Media Advisory, Summary of scathing Jackson County LS&S performance audit, Sept.11, 2017
DISCLAIMER: The Escondido Library Watchdog volunteers make every effort to ensure accuracy and faithful reporting of information on this website. However, please bring any discrepancies or perceived inaccuracies to our attention at firstname.lastname@example.org Thank you.