Last updated:
* August 27, 2017 to summarize Escondido City Council meeting on August 23, 2017.  Please see the end of this post for the most recent materials.

June 14, 2017

At the Escondido City Council‘s meeting on June 14, 2017 (see agenda, meeting minutes and video broadcast, it was incidentally disclosed that the city was exploring cost saving opportunities by outsourcing library services. In a letter to the city council about the city budget for Fiscal Year 2017-2018 (pg. 8 > City Manager’s Transmittal Letter), City Manager Jeff Epp wrote:

It is also the City’s goal to maintain ongoing financial structural stability. Financial capacity is aligned with long-term service objectives. As part of this process, the City will be evaluating opportunities for outsourcing City operations such as graffiti eradication, library services, plan checking services, shopping cart retrieval and other areas where cost savings or additional efficiencies can occur without disrupting service levels.

Councilmember Olga Diaz brought up the line item for discussion at the city council meeting, and a clip of her questions to City Manager Epps about outsourcing library services (approximately 1:32:00-1:36:20 of city video broadcast) is at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lBl-adTd1EA.

A local Escondido resident who attended the meeting posted a write-up at Libraries—Much Cheaper than Jails. The San Diego Union Tribune reported about the city’s now public efforts to privatize the Escondido Public Library at Escondido explores outsourcing library services.

June 28, 2017

At the Escondido City Council‘s meeting on June 28, 2017 (agenda, meeting minutes & video broadcast, outsourcing library services was added to the City Council Action Plan for 2017-2018 (Council Meeting Agenda, pg. 163 > 2017-2018 City Council Action Plan > Priority Area > Fiscal Management > item #7):

2017-2018 CITY COUNCIL ACTION PLAN
PRIORITY AREA: FISCAL MANAGEMENT
GOAL: Approve a balanced budget each year, as required by state law, that ensures the City’s fiscal stability

STRATEGY
7. Evaluate opportunities for outsourcing city operations.

STATUS
Ongoing

Opportunity #1 Status: Staff is evaluating contracting for Library services to determine whether it would result in cost savings and improved service.

Milestone date: January 2018

Responsibility:
City Manager’s Office;
Library Services Division

[…]

BACKGROUND
Escondido faces a number of significant financial challenges warranting the exploration of outsourcing certain functions to improve cost savings while maintaining and/or improving public service.

July 11, 2017

Prior to Escondido Library Board of Trustees‘ meeting on July 11, 2017, the Times-Advocate reported about the privatization of the Escondido Public Library at Library board to hear presentation on outsourcing July 11. Op-eds on privatization of Escondido Public Library by local Escondido residents were also posted: Shifting library into private hands would be a bad move, Keep the Escondido Public Library public, and Letter to the Editor: LIBRARY OUT-SOURCING WILL OPEN CITY TO NEW SET OF PROBLEMS.

At the Escondido Library Board of Trustees‘ meeting on July 11, 2017 (see agenda), City Manager Epp made a presentation about “transferring the day to day operations from public employees to employees of a private company”. A brief write-up of the meeting was posted at Call to Action: Stop Escondido Library Privatization. A local Escondido resident live-streamed the meeting and video is available on Facebook (video no longer available).

The Escondido Library Board of Trustees’s meeting agenda for August 8, 2017 includes a summary of public comments made at this July 11, 2017 meeting on page 5-13. The presentation that Library Systems & Services made is at Library Systems & Services Powerpoint, July 11, 2017. See the city’s Public Library Outsourcing.

July 24, 2017

Escondido Indivisible, Together We Will (TWW) North County Inland and Escondido Chamber of Citizens hosted a meeting on July 24, 2017 on introduction to public libraries: why they are important and how to save them. Whitney McCoy, a MLIS candidate, made a presentation on Public Library Privatization: Evading Civic Responsibility.
Video recording of the presentation is at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KLP6ybddkBE.

News reporting about the meeting is at ‘Save our library’ group forms: vows resistance, Escondido Activists Seek to Block Public Library Privatization, and Privatization of Escondido library staff a hot button issue.

August 1, 2017

On August 1, 2017, the city made available its cost saving analysis: Cost Savings Analysis. More of the city’s materials is at Public Library Outsourcing.

August 8, 2017

Escondido Library Board of Trustees held its monthly meeting on August 8, 2017, and on the agenda was a discussion of outsourcing Escondido Public Library services. At the end of the meeting, the Board of Trustees voted unanimously to oppose the outsourcing library services.

During the meeting, MLIS candidate Whitney McCoy shared an abbreviated presentation of Public Library Outsourcing: Evading Civic Responsibility with updated information on Escondido Public Library privatization and LS&S:

A letter from American Library Association about privatizing the Escondido Public Library was also shared at the meeting.

The Save Our Escondido Public Library’s media advisory and media release of the meeting are at Media Advisory: Save Our Escondido Library Coalition and Media Release: Escondido Library Trustees Agree with Community: Vote Unanimously to Oppose Privatization of the Escondido Library. Pictures of the coalition’s table at the Escondido Public Library on privatization of the library is available on Facebook. News reporting of the meeting is at Opposition to Escondido library outsourcing grows and Library trustees vote to oppose privatization.

A local Escondido resident live-streamed the meeting and video is available on Facebook: Part 1 & Part 2 (video no longer available). Pictures of the meeting is available at Facebook.

August 15, 2017

The Escondido Public Library Board of Trustees held special meeting on August 15, 2017, 2:00 PM–4:00 PM to draft a letter to Escondido City Council to oppose outsourcing of library services. The letter is available at Library Board of Trustees on Recommendation Regarding Outsourcing of the Escondido Public Library to Library Systems & Services.

MEDIA ADVISORY
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 15, 2017

Rally Planned to Save Escondido Public Library from Outsourcing
Library supporters to gather Wednesday, August 16 at 3:30, prior to City Council meeting

Escondido, CA: Supporters of the Escondido Public Library will rally outside Escondido City Hall
Wednesday at 3:30 to protest Escondido City Council plans to outsource library management to a for-profit,
out-of-state company.

Attendees will be carrying signs and a banner made by children who use the library. Petitions will be
available to sign at the rally; there is also an online petition supporters can sign
(http://www.thepetitionsite.com/323/593/768/petition-to-halt-the-privatization-of-the-escondidopublic-library/).

Concerned library users and volunteers will also be attending the Escondido City Council meeting at 4:30
to speak during the public comment session. Escondido citizens are concerned about the damage
outsourcing will do to library services, local control, volunteer and community support of the library, and
chances for a bond measure for a new library in Grape Day Park, all for a possible savings of 0.4% of the
City of Escondido’s budget.

Members will be on hand to speak to the media.

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About Save Our Escondido Library Coalition: The coalition was formed by local Escondido community groups and local residents in response to the City of Escondido’s move to consider privatization of the Escondido Public Library. The coalition seeks to educate themselves and the public and to provide a conduit for Escondido residents to voice their concerns.

Escondido Indivisible, Together We Will Inland North County, Escondido Democratic Club, Escondido Chamber of Citizens, and Escondido Climate Action Alliance

August 16, 2017

At the Escondido City Council‘s meeting on August 16, 2017 (agenda & video broadcast, the Save Our Library Coalition held a rally before the meeting, and supporters of the library spoke during public comments about the damage outsourcing will do to library services, local control, volunteer and community support of the library, and chances for a bond measure for a new library in Grape Day Park, all for a possible savings of 0.4% of the City of Escondido’s budget. See Media Advisory: Rally Planned to Save Escondido Public Library from Outsourcing.

The San Diego Union Tribune reported on the events at Escondido library outsourcing nearing decision. SDUT also published 2 op-eds earlier in the day for and against library privatization: Escondido library privatization? No: Maintain public control & Escondido library privatization? Yes: Change will save $400,000 a year.

The city also made available the agenda for the next city council meeting on August 23, 2017, and “Library Outsourcing Contract” is on item #10 of the agenda. City Manager Epp will make a presentation and then request approval to negotiate a contract with LS&S. See City Council Staff Report. See Save Our Library: Call to Action Update and Outsourcing Escondido Public Library: Here are the Facts.

August 23, 2017

Ahead of the Escondido City Council‘s meeting on August 23, 2017 (agenda & video broadcast), the SDUT published
Report urges outsourcing library while the mayor pays for a poll, and Voice of San Diego summarized the issue so far at North County Report: Escondido Weighs Privatizing the Library.

At the meeting, City Manager Epp and LS&S presented a proposal for the city to contract with LS&S to manage operations of the Escondido Public Library.

Afterwards, the public were allowed to comment on the proposal. Library supporters also held a rally before the meeting again.

And the city council chimed in with their comments before voting on a motion for the city to start negotiating with LS&S on a contract. Sadly, the Escondido City Council voted 3-2 to move forward with privatizing the Escondido Public Library: Mayor Sam Abed, Councilmember John Masson, and Concilmember Ed Gallo voted yes; Councilmember Olga Diaz and Mike Morasco voted no.

News reporting of the meeting is at Escondido votes to pursue library outsourcing, Council votes 3-2 to move forward on library outsourcing, Escondido privatizes public library, Escondido to Outsource Its Library System to Private Company, Act like it’s a crisis, Will outsourcing vote doom new Escondido library plans?, Escondido’s brutal library power play: Not a good look for mayor, city manager, and Will outsourcing vote doom new Escondido library plans?

Additional News Reporting

And:

Privatizing city library is one for the books

Regarding “Some protest privatizing library” (July 27): I disagree with the city of Escondido’s privatization of the library by taking present and future employees out of the city’s employment. The city is only looking at the dollar signs and not at the impact to its citizens.

First, the library is not a financial burden to the city as it has run on a surplus budget all but one year. Secondly, the city has reduced retirement benefits to new hires and therefore there is less of a burden as it relates to pensions. Third, the company that the city is attempting to use to take over the library is an out-of-state company.

Our taxpayer dollars will be removed from the local community and put in the hands of a private, for-profit company that will not have the concerns of our citizens as first priority. Save our library.

Pam Albergo
Escondido
The San Diego Union Tribune, July 29, 2017, Letter to the Editor

Opportunities to learn & speak up about the privatization of the Escondido Public Library:

Events

Actions

  • Write to Escondido Library Board of Trustees and let them know your concerns about the privatization of the Escondido Public Library. Thank them for voting unanimously to oppose the outsourcing library services at their August 8, 2017 meeting.
  • Write to Escondido City Council and let them know your concerns about the privatization of the Escondido Public Library. Ask them for public discussions about the privatization of the Escondido Public Library & for decision-making process to be public & transparent.
  • Write a letter to the editor about your concerns about the privatization of the Escondido Public Library:
  • Alianza Escondido: <alianzaescondido@gmail.com> (Español) or <escondidoalliance@gmail.com> (English)</escondidoalliance@gmail.com></alianzaescondido@gmail.com>
  • Coast News: <editor@coastnewsgroup.com>
  • Escondido Grapevine: Contact Info
  • San Diego Union-Tribune: letters and commentaries policies. Email <letters@sduniontribune.com> or submit a letter to the editor via their online form.
  • Times-Advocate: Email <editor@times-advocate.com> or mail a letter to PO BOX 461900, Escondido, CA 92046. 400 words typed.
  • Times of San Diego: Contact Info
  • Voice of San Diego: Submit a Commentary to VOSD
  • Sign petition to Halt Privatizing Operation of the Escondido Public Library.

Supplementary Materials

Last updated:
* August 27, 2017 to summarize Escondido City Council meeting on August 23, 2017.
* August 20, 2017 to link to Save Our Library: Call to Action Update and Outsourcing Escondido Public Library: Here are the Facts.
* August 17, 2017 to summarize August 15 Board of Trustees and August 16 City Council meetings.
* August 15, 2017 to link to a Google cache version of Library Systems & Services Powerpoint, July 11, 2017 as original pdf file is no longer available at city website.
* August 12, 2017 to add links to Escondido Library – Public or For-Profit?, Escondido’s Library Should not be Privatized, Activists worry library privatizing already decided, Former city librarians urge: keep the Public Library Public, Rush to judgment on library privatization? and Community coalition fights to keep library public
* August 9, 2017 to add links to an abbreviated presentation of Public Library Outsourcing: Evading Civic Responsibility and Opposition to Escondido library outsourcing grows.
* August 8, 2017 to add title headers and summary of Escondido Public Library’s Board of Trustees’ August 8, 2017 meeting.
* August 6, 2017 to link to North County Report (scroll down to Plan to Privatize Escondido Library Is Not Popular), LTE Save Escondido library from privatization, Cost Savings Analysis and Escondido Library Board of Trustees Meeting Agenda for August 8.
* August 1, 2017 to add Escondido considers outsourcing library services to save money.

MEDIA RELEASES LSS Not Welcome Here Rally

DRAFT CONTRACT

UPDATED FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  August 9, 2017

CONTACT: Laura Hunter, Escondido Indivisible, 619-997-9983, Christine Nava, Escondido Chamber of Citizens, 760-715-9053

Escondido Library Trustees Agree with Community:  Vote Unanimously to Oppose Privatization of the Escondido Library
Save Our Library Coalition logs first big win, but the fight is not over

Escondido, CA:  Sporting library heart badges, over 150 residents were on-hand as the Board of Library Trustees voted unanimously to oppose the outsourcing of the Escondido Library.

Citing concerns about loss of transparency, accountability, volunteer support, and community cohesion speaker after speaker urged the Trustees to save the library and recommend against outsourcing.  A frequent theme of the commenters was a lack of trust and confidence in the current Council majority when it comes to libraries. It was very apparent that the Council closing of the East Valley Branch is still an open wound for Escondido residents.

“If they do this to our current library, why on earth would we support a bond measure for a new library?” said Laura Hunter, organizer of Escondido Indivisible and Coalition member.

Residents held signs with messages including, “Yes, we really do care about the library, Don’t Export our Tax $$$ Out of State, and Libraries are Sacred”. Organizers ran out of badges as people poured into the hearing.

Several library coalition members reminded them of the significant role that the volunteers play in supporting the library and that the Council risks the loss of hundreds of thousands of dollars of support annually if the library is handed over to a private corporation.  Many speakers vowed that this support is at-risk of being lost if the library privatizes.

As a long-term volunteer, Virginia Abushanab pointed out that The Shop, run completely by volunteers, generates about $75,000 a year, all of which is given back to the library in sponsoring programs and augmenting the materials budget.  At present, The Shop donates $50,000 per year, or one-fifth, to the city.  “I find it galling that LS&S has indicated, as written in their budget proposal, that they expect us volunteers to continue to give them the same financial support as we do our beloved public institution,” she said.  She, and other volunteers she’s talked with, will not volunteer one minute for a profit-making organization, especially in light of the fact that the transfer was so hostile.

Another active library volunteer said, “Volunteering for free to line the pockets of a corporation is like me going to McDonalds and pushing a broom to sweep up for them.  I’m not going to do it!”

Patricia Serrano told the Trustees that as an immigrant she learned English at the library and it allowed her children to have access to books they needed. “My child graduated from a prestigious Massachusetts college. Without the library, my son wouldn’t have been able to succeed as he has.”

Coalition members who have been collecting signatures told the Board that they had amassed over 1,500 signatures.  Liz White, a petition volunteer, noted that “At first, we spent a lot of time educating people about what it meant.  A week later, they were running to the table to sign the petition.”

Speaker appearances included two former Directors of the library, Laura Mitchell and Loretta McKinney. Ms. Mitchell read a letter opposing the outsourcing from the American Library Association President James Neal and Public Library Association Pam Smith.  The letter can be found here, ALA Letter to Trustees and City Council.

Ms. McKinney stated, “The unfunded pension issue is a real issue and should be addressed with a master plan and timeline.” She went on to add, “I am not in favor of LS&S.  The community is the first to suffer so that LS&S gets their profits.”

Whitney McCoy, the main presenter for the Coalition, shared significant information and research she had conducted on our library, privatization, and LS&S.  She said “This matters because privatizing a public library is a red flag for a local government that is derelict in its duties to its citizenry.  Contracting with LS&S will remove our taxpayer money from the local community and put it in the hands of a private, for-profit, equity firm-controlled company with no obligation for transparency and no incentive for responding to our needs”

Only one sitting Council member was present. Lone Council member Olga Diaz noted that she did not sign the Grand Jury response due to the inclusion of outsourcing in the response. “I urge the Trustees to encourage the Council to abandon this idea.  I’d love nothing more than to pick up my clipboard and work to get community support for the Library bond measure.”

Chair Guiles said that among his concerns was building support for a new library. “We need a new library and we cannot pass a bond if we have any organized opposition in the community.” He noted the Trustees had received untold comments, letters, and emails on this topic and only one supported outsourcing.

Trustee Myra Salazar had the most compelling defense of the library, “I can tell you, for sure, if it wasn’t for the library I wouldn’t be sitting here today.”  She made the motion to oppose outsourcing of our library which was seconded by Trustee Gary Knight. The motion passed unanimously.

Now, the Trustees will meet to finalize their letter to the City Council.   The coalition will be present at the next City Council meeting on August 16th.  A rally in front of City Hall will be held at 3:30 and residents are invited to speak to the Council directly on public comment at 4:30.

“This is a big win, but it’s not over yet. We will continue to fight for the library we love!”, said Vanessa Valenzuela, a local activist who put the entire hearing on Facebook LIVE.  The meeting can be seen here Trustee Meeting August 8, 2017.

This is a significant victory for Save Our Escondido Library Coalition who have worked tirelessly since the first heard about this threat to our library last month.

Please email Liz White at liz_white@me.com to be added to the Save the Escondido Library Coalition information list.  You can also visit On the Issue Escondido Indivisible

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About Save Our Escondido Library Coalition: The coalition was formed by local Escondido community groups and local residents in response to the City of Escondido’s move to consider privatization of the Escondido Public Library. The coalition seeks to educate themselves and the public and to provide a conduit for Escondido residents to voice their concerns.

Escondido Indivisible, Together We Will Inland North County, Escondido Democratic Club, Escondido Chamber of Citizens, and Escondido Climate Action Alliance