Refer to our main page On the Issue: Escondido Public Library Privatization.
* 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.
Escondido Public Library Privatization
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
7. Evaluate opportunities for outsourcing city operations.
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
City Manager’s Office;
Library Services Division
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
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.
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.
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
- The Coast News, July 28, 2017 Edition, Concern over outsourcing of public library services
- SDUT, July 29, 2017, Escondido tests water of library privatization — and it’s hot
- ABC 10 News, July 31, 2017, Escondido considers outsourcing library services to save money
- Voice of San Diego, August 2, 2017, North County Report (scroll down to Plan to Privatize Escondido Library Is Not Popular)
- Alianza North County, August Edition, Escondido Library – Public or For-Profit?
- Alianza North County, Opinions, August Edition, Escondido’s Library Should not be Privatized
- SDUT, LTE, August 06, 2017 Edition, Save Escondido library from privatization
- Times-Advocate, August 11, 2017 Edition,
Activists worry library privatizing already decided
- Times-Advocate, August 11, 2017 Edition,
Former city librarians urge: keep the Public Library Public
- Times-Advocate, Editorial, August 10, 2017 Edition, Rush to judgment on library privatization?
- The Coast News, August 11, 2017, Community coalition fights to keep library public
- Times-Advocate, August 17, 2017 Edition, City manager: ‘It’s time to climb out of our old cardboard box’.
- Times-Advocate, August 17, 2017 Edition, If library is privatized, say goodbye to bond approval
- Times-Advocate, August 17, 2017 Edition, Letter to the Editor, TIME IS RUNNING OUT TO FIGHT LIBRARY PRIVATIZATION.
- SDUT, LTE, August 19, 2017 Edition: Listen to community on library proposal.
- SDUT, LTE, August 22, 2017 Edition: Epp failed to make case on Escondido library.
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.
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:
- August 8, 2017, 2:00 PM–4:00 PM: Escondido Public Library Board of Trustees Meeting at Escondido Public Library, Turrentine Room, 239 S Kalmia St., Escondido, CA 92025. (Follow-up meeting on public library privatization. See agenda.)
- August 12, 2017, 10:00 PM–12:00 PM: Escondido Democratic Club’s General Membership Meeting at the Park Avenue Community Center (formerly Joslyn Senior Center), Auditorium Room, 210 E. Park Avenue, Ste. A, Escondido CA 92025. (Update on public library privatization.)
- August 15, 2017, 2:00 PM–4:00 PM: Escondido Public Library Board of Trustees Special Meeting at Escondido Public Library, Turrentine Room, 239 S Kalmia St., Escondido, CA 92025. (Follow-up meeting to draft a letter to Escondido City Council to oppose outsourcing of library services.)
- August 16, 2017, 3:30 PM: Save Our Escondido Public Library Rally & Escondido City Council Meeting at City Hall, 201 North Broadway, Escondido, CA 92025.
- August 23, 2017, 3:30 PM: Save Our Escondido Public Library Rally & Escondido City Council Meeting at City Hall Council Chambers, 201 North Broadway, Escondido, CA 92025.
- 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: <firstname.lastname@example.org> (Español) or <email@example.com> (English)</firstname.lastname@example.org></email@example.com>
- Coast News: <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- Escondido Grapevine: Contact Info
- San Diego Union-Tribune: letters and commentaries policies. Email <email@example.com> or submit a letter to the editor via their online form.
- Times-Advocate: Email <firstname.lastname@example.org> 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.
- Escondido: East Valley public library branch closes in 2011
- San Diego County Grand Jury Report on the Escondido Public Library
- A handy sign that a local government is shirking its public duty: privatizing the library
- KEEPING PUBLIC LIBRARIES PUBLIC: A Checklist for Communities Considering Privatization of Public Libraries
* 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.
Over 100 residents packed into the Escondido Library Trustee meeting to oppose the privatization of the library services!
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 three other Escondido City councilmen.
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 Epp, the 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.
This is yet another bad idea trumped up by Mayor Sam Abed and his supporters on the Council—Gallo, Masson, and Morasco.
This is a call to action! Here is what we can do.
- ATTEND OUR ORGANIZING 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.
- Write a letter to the editor of the San Diego Union Tribune and let them know how despicable this effort by the Mayor and other council members is. 150 words or less and send to email@example.com include your name and city of residence.
- Plan to attend the next Library Trustee meeting: Tuesday, August 8 at 2PM at the Library where the Trustees will discuss what will happen next.
- Learn more about this very important issue. Here are some links: News articles: Times Advocate and San Diego Union Tribune
American Library Association publication on questions communities should ask when considering privatization of libraries:
Last, E-mail or call city council and library trustees to voice your concerns.
City Council: https://www.escondido.org/city-council.aspx
Library Board of Trustees: https://library.escondido.org/library-board-of-trustees.aspx