September 30, 2014

A Texas Public Library Terminates Contract With LSSI

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From The Monitor (San Juan, TX):

Maryland-based LSSI has run San Juan’s library since 2007, including its move from a 2,500-square-foot trailer to a 16,000-square-foot building that opened last year at 1010 S. Standard Ave.

The company proposed continuing to operate the library for the current $281,686 annual tab, plus a 3 percent employee cost-of-living increase. Expanded services the city had requested, including additional teen programming, Sunday hours, more books and a seventh employee, would cumulatively add $120,000.

Commissioners declared that cost for the added services unacceptable and nixed the company, overruling Mayor San Juanita Sanchez and opting to see if the city could add hours and staff for less money.

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LSSI Vice President Bob Windrow released a short statement Thursday saying the company would work with the city for a smooth transition of services.

“Naturally we were disappointed to learn of what happened at Tuesday night’s commission meeting,” he said. “LSSI is very proud of the accomplishments of our partnership with the City over the past five years. The citizens of San Juan now have a new, beautiful, state-of-the-art library facility to enjoy, which did not exist when we started.”

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Susan Hauer, LSSI managing director for eastern operations, said the company is often able to negotiate lower prices for items and services because they operate 76 libraries nationwide.

But commissioners lodged frustration that LSSI routinely refuses to divulge its profit margin. A budget LSSI provided the city last year gives a breakdown of staff costs and material costs — noting there is a 7.5 percent LSSI fee on materials — but does not otherwise outline the company’s fee.

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Gary Price About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.