May 25, 2022

Radio Program Looks at Outsourcing of Public Libraries, Audio File and Text Transcript Available Online

The following program was recorded on March 8, 2011 and aired on WAMU-FM in Washington D.C.

The Kojo Nnamdi Show: Outsourcing Public Libraries

From the WAMU Web Site:

Cash-strapped communities across the country have outsourced services ranging from trash pickup to tech support. But in a trend that’s sparking debate around the country, more and more cities and towns are hiring outside contractors to run their public libraries. Some see the move as a savvy way to save money, while others worry about the implications allowing a private company to take control of the neighborhood library. We explore both sides of the issue.


David Shumaker
Clinical Associate Professor, School of Library and Information Science at The Catholic University of America
Patricia Tumulty
Chair, American Library Association Committee on Library Advocacy; Executive Director, New Jersey Library Association.
Here’s What Nnamdi Said to Open the Program:

…your local librarians have a lot on their plates, assisting patrons with research, running story times for kids, helping jobseekers fill out forms online. On top of that, many of them have to hire and manage personnel and explain their budgets to city councils or to boards of trustees.

But when communities have to curb spending, local libraries are usually one of the first places they go to make cuts. Some communities are turning to private contractors who promise to boost services and save them money to manage their libraries, a move that has some librarians and patrons up in arms. Joining us to discuss this in our Washington studio is David Shumaker. He’s professor in the School of Library and Information Science at The Catholic University of America. David Shumaker, thank you for joining us.
And joining us from the studios of WWFM in New Jersey is Patricia Tumulty.  Pat Tumulty is the chair of the American Library Associations Committee on Library Advocacy. She’s also the executive director of the New Jersey Library Association. Pat Tumulty, thank you so much for joining us.
About Gary Price

Gary Price ( 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, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.